Novartis AG buys Indiana biotech startup Endocyte for $2.1B

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Swiss drug giant Novartis AG has purchased a biotech startup co-founded by a Purdue University cancer researcher for $2.1 billion.

Under the deal announced Thursday, Novartis agreed to purchase Endocyte Inc. for $24 per share. That’s 54 percent more than Endocyte’s Wednesday closing price on the Nasdaq.

The Journal & Courier reports that the West Lafayette-based biotech company was built around the cancer research of Purdue chemistry professor Philip Low, who co-founded it in 1996.

The company, which has 75 employees in West Lafayette and Indianapolis, has developed an experimental therapy for advanced prostate cancer.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels called Endocyte’s sale “a landmark moment” for the university, which has been working for years to commercialize its researchers’ discoveries through new startups.