Novartis has rejected the Israeli biotech Gamida Cell… again. The Big Pharma has decided not to carry out its option on the Israel-based company. The transaction would have meant a €535.5M deal but it won’t happen, despite Gamida having fulfilled the milestones of the bilateral agreement. Novartis, however, will maintain their collaboration.

It is the second time the Swiss pharma decides not to exercise option to buy the Israeli biotech. Last year, Novartis also skipped the buyout, that also amounted €535.5M. Last year, Novaris bought a 15% stake in Gamida Cell and now the Big Pharma has also declined the option to buy its partner. The association between Gamida and Novartis is leading to the development of NiCord, a stem cell product now in a Phase I/II study for patients with hematological malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma.

Novartis’ game seems confusing, as the Israeli company successfully met all of the determined milestones. Furthermore, the Big Pharma is also determined on continuing the two-sided partnership.

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