Novartis scores Corthera and its heart failure drug for up to $620M

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Novartis is seeking to acquire biopharmaceutical company Corthera, along with its promising drug candidate relaxin, a naturally occurring human peptide used in the treatment of acute decompensated heart failure, for up to $620 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis will adopt full responsibility for the development and commercialization of relaxin, which is currently in Phase III clinical trials, for $120 million. In addition, the shareholders of the San Mateo, Calif.-based Corthera will be eligible to receive supplementary payments up to $500 million, contingent upon clinical milestones and regulatory approvals of the drug.

Relaxin, known to increase cardiac output and systemic and renal vasodilation, is planned to gain regulatory approval in the U.S. and Europe by 2013.

In addition, the FDA has granted relaxin to its “fast track” status, a program which accelerates the review and availability of new drugs to the market that are developed to treat life-threatening conditions, such as ADHF.

According to Novartis, the deal is expected to reach completion in the first quarter of 2010.