Novartis enters drug delivery collaboration with Rani Therapeutics

Will use Rani's proprietary oral biotherapeutics drug delivery platform to formulate and test selected biologics

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is to evaluate Rani Therapeutics' novel oral biotherapeutics drug delivery platform in a new collaboration.

No financial details have been revealed, but the two companies have agreed to begin feasibility studies to evaluate how some of Novartis' proprietary biologics can be delivered into the bloodstream using Rani's unique route of administration. After successful completion of the feasibility studies, which will be conducted by Rani over the next 18–24 months, Novartis will have the right to enter into a more extensive collaboration with the company and/or license Rani's technology for specific fields of use.

Founded in 2012 and spun out of InCube Labs, San Diego, CA-based Rani has developed a technology platform to convert injectable drugs such as TNF-alpha Inhibitors, interleukin antibodies, and basal insulin among others into pills. The company has demonstrated similar exposure to subcutaneous injections in pre-clinical studies, and has recently begun developing partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to test its platform with selected drugs.

'The delivery of large molecules orally is considered the Holy Grail of drug delivery, and there have been many failed attempts before us. We understand the magnitude of the problem we are pursuing, and we are confident that our approach has the potential radically to change the way biologics are administered to patients,' said Mir Imran, Chairman and CEO of Rani Therapeutics.

In addition, Novartis participated in Rani's Series C equity round along with venture funds Google Ventures, InCube Ventures and VentureHealth. Other investors in this financing include The Stevanato Group, Crystal Horizon Investments, Pinemount Investments, and Pacific Venture Opportunity Fund, as well as Buttonwood Funds, which joined as a follow-on investor.

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