Swiss company aims to re-stock drug pipeline with three new deals in skin, eye and cardiovascular health

Novartis has agreed three deals in a matter of weeks, acquiring several promising pipeline drugs.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company has committed to buying dermatology specialist Ziarco, gaining access to its development-stage eczema drugs including promising oral treatment ZPL389.

It will also acquire Encore Vision, an eyecare company based in Texas, US. The deal expands Novartis’ existing ophthalmology business, adding what it described as the ‘potentially disruptive’ topical therapy EV06. The drug passed Phase I-II trials last year for treating age-related long sightedness.

Novartis then agreed to collaborate with Ionis Pharmaceuticals and its affiliate Akcea Therapeutics to develop new treatments for cardiovascular disease. Novartis will have options to license and commercialise two pipeline gene therapies with the potential to inhibit the production of lipoprotein(a) and apolipoprotein C3, which are associated with higher rates of heart disease, thrombosis and stroke.