Novartis has unveiled plans to buy Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) for $3.9 billion in cash, beefing up its oncology portfolio.
Under the deal, Novartis will gain access to the firm’s Lutathera (177Lu-Dotatate), a first-in-class RadioLigand Therapy (RLT) approved in Europe in September for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic, progressive, well differentiated, somatostatin receptor positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs).
The decision followed Phase III data showing that Lutathera achieved a statistically significant and clinically meaningful 79 percent reduction in risk of disease progression or death compared to the control therapy. Also, at the time of study publication in the New England Journal of Medicine (January 2017), median progression free survival in the control arm was 8.4 months and had not yet been reached in the Lutathera arm, the firm noted.
The treatment is also currently under review in the US, where the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a decision by January 26 next year.
Integration of AAA will bolster Novartis' expertise in diseases associated with NETs and introduce a new technology platform that provides an innovative approach to treating cancer, with potential applications across a number of oncology early development programmes, the Swiss drug giant said, explaining the strategy behind the move.
"Novartis has a strong legacy in the development and commercialization of medicines for neuroendocrine tumors where significant unmet need remains for patients," noted Bruno Strigini, Novartis Oncology’s chief executive.
"With Lutathera we can build on this legacy by expanding the global reach of this novel, differentiated treatment approach and work to maximise Advanced Accelerator Applications broader RLT pipeline and an exciting technology platform."
As per the memorandum of understanding, which has been approved by AAA's Board of Directors, Novartis will make a cash offer of $41 per ordinary share of AAA and $82 per American Depositary Share, subject to certain conditions, valuing the equity at $3.9 billion.