Novartis CEO Spurs Rare-Disease Shift With $8.7 Billion Deal

Source: Novartis

Novartis agreed to acquire AveXis for $8.7 billion to gain a promising drug to treat a rare disease that afflicts infants, hastening a shift toward gene therapy and precision medicines, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Shareholders of the Bannockburn, Illinois-based company will receive $218 a share in cash in a tender offer, Novartis said in a statement Monday. The price is 88 percent above where AveXis closed Friday.

The transaction is Novartis’s second deal to advance in gene therapy this year -- and the first led by new Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan. The Swiss drugmaker is redeploying some of the $13 billion in proceeds from the sale of its stake in a consumer-health joint venture to partner GlaxoSmithKline Plc to gain more firepower in prescription medicines before some of its existing best-sellers lose patent protection.

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