Novartis exercises option with Conatus for NASH product

A sign marks a building on Novartis' campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., February 28, 2017. Picture taken February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis is exercising its option with ConatusPharmaceuticals for an exclusive license for the global development and commercialization of emricasan for treating liver disease NASH, the Swiss drugmaker said.

In December, Novartis said it signed a licensing deal to co-develop the fatty liver disease drug with Conatus, under which the small U.S. company receives $50 million up front.

Novartis said on Thursday exercise of the option would take effect upon receipt of all required anti-trust approvals and payment of a $7-million option exercise fee to Conatus.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Clarence Fernandez