Novartis Acquires IFM Therapeutics

Novartis has acquired IFM Therapeutics (IFM), a privately held biotech focused on developing therapies that modulate novel targets in the innate immune system. Deal terms:

  • $310 million in upfront payments
  • Up to $1.265 billion in milestone payments
  • Total potential $1.575 billion

Novartis will have full rights to IFM Tre’s portfolio of NLPR3 antagonists, consisting of one clinical and two pre-clinical programs: IFM-2427, a first-in-class, clinical stage systemic antagonist for an array of chronic inflammatory disorders including atherosclerosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); a pre-clinical stage gut-directed molecule for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease; and a pre-clinical stage central nervous system (CNS)-penetrant molecule.

The press release included Jay Bradner, President of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, quoting “we look forward to applying our deep expertise in this field to advancing these medicines through the clinic and to patients who need them.”

NLRP3 (NOD-, LRR- and pyrin domain-containing 3) is an intracellular innate immune signaling receptor allowing immune cells to detect the presence of pro-inflammatory foreign or endogenous molecules signaling infection, tissue damage or metabolic derangements. These conditions trigger the assembly of a multi-protein complex called an inflammasome, which then initiates an immune response. While this response can be useful for fending off foreign pathogens, abnormal or chronic activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome is known to cause negative downstream effects and the onset and progression of numerous diseases.  IFM Tre’s programs target the innate immune system by suppressing only the inflammation mediated by the NLRP3 pathway, leaving other immune pathways unsuppressed and free to produce inflammatory responses to confront harmful pathogens.

IFM Background
Founded in 2015, IFM Therapeutics (IFM) is a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Company was founded by an international group of preeminent scientists and physicians following the sale of IFM Therapeutics, Inc. (originally founded by Gary D. Glick and Atlas Venture) to Bristol-Myers Squibb. IFM’s team discovered and developed small molecules that modulate novel targets in the innate immune system as next-generation therapies for cancer, auto-immunity, and inflammatory disorders. Additionally, IFM owns and operates IFM Due, a subsidiary company launched in February 2019 that is developing small-molecule antagonists and inhibitors targeting aberrant inflammatory responses of the innate immune system triggered by the cGAS-STING pathway, which is believed to underlie a variety of serious diseases.