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Novartis buys remaining rights to GSK treatment in deal up to $1B

Novartis has agreed to buy all remaining rights to Ofatumumab from Britain's GlaxoSmithKline for up to $1 billion, boosting the Swiss drugmaker's stable of multiple sclerosis (MS) treatments.

Basel-based Novartis had previously acquired the rights to Ofatumumab for oncology indications, but it is currently being developed for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and other auto-immune conditions.

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"Novartis is pleased to further reinforce our commitment to neuroscience and to add an exciting new treatment to our strong MS portfolio," David Epstein, head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement.

Novartis will pay GSK $300 million up front to buy the compound and a further $200 million is payable after the start of a phase III study in MS by Novartis.

Payments of up to $534 million will be made if pre-agreed milestones are met.

Novartis will also pay royalties of up to 12 percent to GSK on any future net sales of Ofatumumab in auto-immune conditions.