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Novartis to buy French radiopharma specialist AAA for $3.9bn

Deal will strengthen its cancer therapy business, says Swiss pharma group

Novartis

Novartis has agreed a $3.9bn deal to buy Advanced Accelerator Applications, a French company specialising in nuclear medicines used to treat tumours.

The Swiss pharma giant said this morning that the deal would help strengthen its cancer therapy businesses, adding an approved radiopharmaceutical drug - Lutathera (177Lu- oxodotreotide) for gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine (GEP-NET) tumours and two marketed imaging agents - as well as a pipeline of products based on radioisotopes in development for both the diagnosis and therapy of tumours.

AAA specialises in pairing radiolabelled diagnostics with matched therapeutics - an approach it calls theragnostics, and sales of its marketed products, currently led by NetSpot PET imaging agent, reached in the first half of the year reached around $79m, although it made a net loss of $24m.

AAA claimed EU approval for Lutathera last month and has filed it for approval in the US, with a verdict due from the FDA in January, and Novartis says it can “build on this legacy by expanding the global reach of this novel, differentiated treatment approach”. The first patient was recently treated with the drug in Japan, where it is partnered with Fujifilm RI Pharma.

The transaction gives Novartis “both near-term product launches as well as a new technology platform with potential applications across a number of oncology early development programmes”, said the firm’s oncology head Bruno Strigini in a statement.

Among AAA’s clinical candidates is 177Lu-NeoBOMB1, a radiopharmaceutical for prostate cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) and breast cancer.

Novartis is offering $41 in cash per AAA ordinary share and $82 per American Depositary Share, and says it intends to fund the acquisition with debt. The deal is still subject to a tender offer and consultations with workers at the Saint-Genis-Pouilly-based biopharma company.

“We have long felt [Novartis] would be an ideal partner, not only to enhance the launch of … Lutathera for neuroendocrine tumours, but especially to accelerate the advancement of our unique oncology theragnostic platform,” said AAA’s chef executive Stefano Buono.

Article by
Phil Taylor

30th October 2017

From: Sales

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