Issue Date: December 15, 2008
Ascent Secures Novartis Partnership
The Novartis Option Fund, an investment arm of Novartis, has bought the option to license drug candidates from Ascent Therapeutics, a new company focused on small lipopeptides targeting G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are popular targets for drug discovery. Between an up-front fee and potential milestone payments, Ascent could reap more than $200 million. The biotech firm says traditional drugs target the extracellular ligand-binding site on GPCRs, whereas its technology allows lipopeptides to bind intracellularly. Ascent was launched last month in Cambridge, Mass., after a round of funding from Novartis Option Fund, Healthcare Ventures, and TVM Capital.
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