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Novartis AG snags Gyroscope for US$1.5bn

Ocular gene therapy specialist Gyroscope Therapeutics Holdings plc is to be acquired by Novartis AG for up to $1.5bn.

The deal includes an upfront cash payment of $800m and up to $700m in cash upon the achievement of certain milestones. Gyroscope’s seed investor and founder Syncona Ltd announced it will cash in £589m in total, a 5.2 multiple on original cost. Currently, Gyroscope Therapeutics is executing a Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The British company’s candidate GT005 is designed as a one-time gene therapy that is administered under the retina. GT005 reportedly aims to rebalance part of the immune system.

Gyroscope is now the third company Novartis has acquired in the optogenetics field this year. First, the company bought Arctos Medical, a spin-off from the University of Bern, whose technology is also aimed at treating AMD. This was followed a good two months ago by the acquisition of the American company Vedere Bio, which has two programmes in development for the treatment of AMD.

Until closing, Novartis and Gyroscope Therapeutics will continue to operate as separate and independent companies.