Novartis establishes stake in Israeli stem cell firm

Novartis (NYSE:NVS) buys a 15% stake in Gamida Cell, an Israeli developer of stem cell therapies, for $35M and receives an option to acquire the company from parent Elbit Imaging. The buyout is linked to the achievement of development milestones for NiCord, a treatment for hematologic diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell disease.

If Novartis exercises its option, it would pay $165M in cash and up to $435M in milestone payments. The option expires in 1H 2016.

NiCord is currently in Phase 1/2 clinical trials.

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