In August of last year, it was reported that Novaris was integrating its separate gene and cell therapy unit back into the company. Some thought it showed a retraction of a commitment to the division’s CAR T Cell work, but the Swiss company says it is aggressively pursuing steps forward. Vas Narasimhan, MD and global head of drug development and CMO at Novartis said that the inclusion back into the main corporate structure was due to its significant potential.
According to a recent article in Fierce Biotech, “its leading CAR-T candidate, CTL019 (tisagenlecleucel), now has two FDA breakthrough tags in two blood cancers, and was given a priority review for the med by the agency at the end of March.”
We had incubated the technology which came out of [its 2012 CAR-T deal]with Penn as a dedicated unit, and that was something that made sense: If you had immediately put that into the larger infrastructure of Novartis, it would have got lost, especially in the early stages when it was risky and it was unclear if this would be tractable,” he said.