Insofar as pharma M&As are concerned, 2018 is turning out to be a milestone year with more than US$ 170 billion invested in the first quarter alone. While March saw a steep climb in deal values with the Cigna-Express Scripts US$ 67 billion acquisition, April remained significant for Novartis’ renewed interests in gene therapy — the Swiss pharma giant acquired AveXis, a clinical-stage gene therapy company, for US$ 8.7 billion.
Novartis retains focus on gene therapy with US$ 8.7 billion AveXis buyout
In a bid to secure its leadership position in gene therapy, Novartis struck a deal to acquire Illinois-based AveXis, a clinical-stage gene therapy company working to develop treatments of rare and life-threatening neurological genetic diseases.
AveXis’ lead pipeline candidate is a neurology-targeted treatment based on virus-mediated gene therapy — AVXS-101. It has the potential to be the first one-time gene replacement therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a disease which results in early death or lifelong disability with considerable healthcare costs.
“What was remarkable and what we consider transformative – and frankly all the experts in the SMA field also feel the same – is that we had 100 percent survival of the children at 13.6 months of age, and 100 percent survival of the children at 20 months of age,” Sukumar Nagendran, the chief medical officer of AveXis said in an interview with SMA News Today.