M&A

Buyout buzz: Novartis has been kicking the tires at AAA as FDA reviews Lutathera — report

After working through some snafus on its applications for its experimental cancer drug Lutathera, Bloomberg is reporting that Novartis has been kicking the tires at France’s Advanced Accelerator applications with an interest in making a bid for the company.

No one is saying that Novartis has bid for the company, and Bloomberg’s piece notes that others may step in — the kind of story that never hurts your stock price $AAAP.

Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis

The company’s stock surged 10% on the buyout buzz, boosting a market cap that closed Wednesday at $2.7 billion.

That kind of valuation is well within the range of Novartis, which has selected $2 billion to $5 billion bolt-ons as its sweet spot under CEO Joe Jimenez. This new deal — if this is accurate — would presumably have to pass muster with development chief Vas Narasimhan, now transitioning to the helm in early 2018.

Last fall AAA noted that the FDA had trouble analyzing data from its study of Lutathera for gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and a CRL followed in December. The therapy targets tumors with radiolabeled somatostatin analogue peptides. The FDA accepted the resubmitted application at the end of August, setting a PDUFA date of January 26, 2018.


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