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Novartis considering sale for parts of radiopharmaceutical business AAA, say sources

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 06, 2023
Business Affairs
Novartis is contemplating selling parts of its company, Advanced Accelerator Applications, say anonymous sources.
Looking to focus on areas with higher growth potential, Novartis AG is said to be mulling over a potential sale of its radiopharmaceutical business Advanced Accelerator Applications.

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that the company may sell some diagnostic imaging assets of AAA, which it purchased in 2017 from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) for about $3.9 billion.

But the deliberations are ongoing, with no decision set in stone, said the sources, who requested anonymity as the information was confidential.

Novartis did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

AAA was founded in 2002 as a spinoff of CERN, and produces radiopharmaceuticals for PET and SPECT imaging of cancers, cardiovascular, and neurological disorders in the early stages, as well as for therapeutics, including precision radioligand imaging and targeted radioligand therapy. Among its products are Pluvicto, for treating castration-resistant prostate cancer, and for which Novartis just expanded its manufacturing capacity, and Lutathera, the first-ever approved peptide receptor radionuclide therapy for treating somatostatin-receptor positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

Over the past year, Novartis has zeroed in on high-growth areas in cardiovascular, immunology, neuroscience, solid tumors, and hematology markets, including gene and cell therapy, radioligand therapy, and "xRNA". Because of this, it is looking to cut out other divisions that lack the same sustained growth potential, a growing industrywide trend.

In June, it agreed to sell part of its eye medicines portfolio to Bausch + Lomb Corp. for as much as $2.5 billion and announced in August that it would spin off its generics and biosimilars unit, Sandoz, as a separate company by early October.

One area it is showing increased interest in is rare diseases. Earlier this year, it acquired Chinook Therapeutics, which is developing two treatments for a rare kidney disease, for as much as $3.5 billion.

It also announced a company restructuring in June 2022 that it said would result in over 8,000 layoffs worldwide, a loss of 7% of its workforce, primarily in sales and marketing, operations, and general and administration. It says the cuts will allow it to save at least $1 billion a year by 2024.

The effects of this were most recently seen with its decision in August to eliminate 103 positions in clinical operations at its headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey. It laid off 285 other employees there in early January.

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