Novartis to buy AveXis in US$8.7b gene therapy deal

Logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its branch in Schweizerhalle near Basel, Switzerland March 29, 2018. — Reuters pic
Logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its branch in Schweizerhalle near Basel, Switzerland March 29, 2018. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, April 9 — Novartis AG agreed to acquire AveXis Inc for US$8.7 billion (RM33.6 billion) to expand its position in gene therapy.

Switzerland-based Novartis is buying the Bannockburn, Illinois, company for $218 a share, representing a premium of 88 per cent to AveXis’s closing price Friday. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, according to a statement Monday.

AveXis is involved in several clinical studies for the treatment of SMA, an inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a defect in a single gene. AveXis’s lead product candidate, AVXS-101, is expected to enhance Novartis’s position as a gene therapy and neuroscience leader, according to the statement.

Novartis last month agreed to sell a stake in its consumer health-care joint venture to GlaxoSmithKline Plc for US$13 billion, as the company narrows its focus on prescription medicines. The Glaxo transaction helps give Novartis more firepower for its pharmaceutical operations and acquisitions. — Bloomberg

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