Swiss drugs giant Novartis is paying a pretty penny to get its hands on AveXis Inc (NASDAQ:AVXS), a US-based gene therapy specialist.
Novartis said it would pay US$218 per share for AveXis, compared to Friday’s night’s closing price for the US firm of US$115.91.
The terms value AveXis as around US$8.7bn.
AveXis’s lead product candidate, AVXS-101, is a gene therapy currently in development for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 1, the leading genetic cause of infant mortality, and SMA Type 2.
“We believe the medicine would have a multi-billion dollar peak sales potential,” said Vas Narasimhan, the chief executive officer of Novartis.
“We’ve been regularly scanning and looking for bolt-in acquisition candidates,” Narasimhan added.
Novartis said the acquisition would put a slight dent in operating income in 2018 and 2019, owing to research & development costs.