Dec 17, 2020
  • The agreement includes two clinical stage molecules for schizophrenia and movement disorders and MIJ821, a clinical stage molecule previously licensed exclusively by Novartis for addressing treatment-resistant depression.
  • The deal builds on Novartis expertise in neuroscience and advances the company’s development of potential neuropsychiatric medicines.

  • The planned acquisition reflects the Novartis commitment to reimagining neuroscience by bringing potentially transformative therapies to patients who suffer from severe, chronic neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Basel, December 17, 2020 — Novartis has entered an agreement to acquire Cadent Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based neuroscience company. The acquisition adds two new clinical stage programs to the Novartis neuroscience portfolio, one for schizophrenia and the other for movement disorders. The agreement also includes a buyout of milestones and royalties for MIJ821, a clinical stage molecule that Novartis licensed exclusively from Cadent in 2015. Novartis is actively developing MIJ821 for treatment resistant depression.

“We are committed to changing the lives of patients suffering from serious neuropsychiatric disorders for which there are limited treatment options,” said Jay Bradner, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). “The Cadent acquisition follows a longstanding collaboration and shared ambition to bring forward novel neuropsychiatric medicines targeted at the root cause of disease.”

Schizophrenia affects millions of people globally. The symptoms are commonly described as “positive” or “negative,” as defined by whether they introduce exaggerations or distortions of reality, such as hallucinations ("positive") or because they represent a reduction in social and emotional response, such as the inability to engage or feel pleasure ("negative"). Cognitive deficits such as impaired attention and executive function are also commonly experienced. New therapies are needed to address the negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, which significantly impact a patient’s ability to maintain relationships and fully function in society. The Phase I schizophrenia program included in the acquisition, CAD-9303, could potentially help fill this critical need.

“There is good evidence, both from human genetics as well as clinical studies, that NMDA receptors, which regulate learning, memory and plasticity in the brain function sub-optimally in schizophrenia,” says Gopi Shanker, the Interim Co-Head of Neuroscience at NIBR. “By modulating the activity of these receptors, we think CAD-9303 could potentially treat negative and cognitive symptoms and help address one of the key gaps in schizophrenia care.”

The experimental therapy for depression, MIJ821, is currently being tested in a Phase II trial overseen by Novartis. The compound selectively modulates a subset of NMDA receptors that have been linked to depression biology. It is being developed as a potential therapy for treatment-resistant depression to help the significant number of patients who do not respond to existing depression therapies.

The third program, CAD-1883, is a Phase II asset and is being explored for movement disorders.

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Cadent, in exchange for an upfront payment and milestone payments. Cadent and Novartis anticipate the transaction will close during the first quarter of 2021. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

This media update contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as “potential,” “will,” “may,” “could,” “anticipate,” “commitment,” “investigational,” “potentially,” “transformative,” “planned,” “to acquire,” “committed,” “ambition,” “bring forward,” “to address,” “to help,” “being explored,” or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals, new indications or labeling for the investigational or approved products, including MIJ821, or regarding the transaction described in this media update, or regarding potential future revenues from such products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that expected benefits and synergies from the transaction will be achieved in the expected timeframe, or at all. Neither can there be any guarantee that the investigational or approved products described in this media update, including MIJ821, will be submitted or approved for sale or for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding the transaction and such products could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures and requirements for increased pricing transparency; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; general political, economic and business conditions, including the effects of and efforts to mitigate pandemic diseases such as COVID-19; safety, quality, data integrity or manufacturing issues; potential or actual data security and data privacy breaches, or disruptions of our information technology systems, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this media update as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this media update as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis medicines reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 110,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at

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