Novartis to Acquire AveXis

AveXis announced today that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by the pharmaceutical company, Novartis. Highlights of the announcement follow:

  • The proposed purchase includes AveXis’ lead compound for SMA as well as the pipeline programs for Rett Syndrome and ALS.
  • The Rett program, AVXS-201, continues full steam ahead.  Previously communicated timelines are on track.
  • Novartis is committed to a leadership position in the gene therapy and neuroscience space. The AveXis purchase helps solidify this position.
  • The acquisition of AveXis by Novartis brings increased resources and global reach to drive the AVXS-201 program forward.
  • The purchase is expected to be completed by mid 2018.  Until the transaction closes each company will continue to operate independently.

We encourage you to read the following materials, all of which include the Rett program, AVXS-201:

AveXis press release

Novartis press release

Novartis presentation slides from today’s investor call

  • Bryan MacCubbing

    Dear Monica, This merger is worrying me. Firstly, who is the actual owner of Novartis?. Is it another of the notorious hedge funds who simply hold a company for a little while then asset strip before departure?. The profits may then be deposited in a tax haven like Delaware thus avoiding payment of all business taxes. Obviously in this greedy business world of today, Novartis will wish to ensure as quick a return on their purchase price of $8.7 billion which may result in the cost to each Rett child becoming astronomical and maybe unachievable by the parents or care facilities. There is also the possibility that Novartis shareholders may be offered an option they feel they cannot refuse by another company such as Roche or Pfizer etc.. at a later date and before Rett Syndrome is reversed. That type of company will certainly up the ante. Personally, I feel that it is not exactly a good thing for Avexis to be undertaking at least until they have perfected the reversal of all their undertakings (SMA, RETT, ALS). Somehow I feel that Rett Syndrome research will now take longer than originally expected as reported earlier this year. At 76 years of age time is of the essence if I wish to see Rett reversed. Bryan Mc Cubbing (father of Julia)

    • RSRT

      Bryan, we all share your urgency. To commercialize a product we need industry. Once industry is involved there are risks and there are benefits. Novartis (the second largest pharma company in the world) brings vast financial resources, expertise and a global reach which can accelerate access by Rett families around the world to gene therapy if/when the product is commercialized. I am personally comforted by the fact that both Novartis and AveXis both publicly confirmed their commitment to the Rett program and specifically stated that they intend to maintain the previously stated timelines. Fortunately, Novartis has active and long-term development in neuroscience and the Rett indication fits well with their core mission to treat neurological conditions. Gene therapy prices will not come cheaply, this applies to small (AveXis) and big companies (Novartis). This blog post from 2016 may be of interest to you.