Novartis announced on Tuesday that its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Novartis AM Merger Corporation, has commenced a cash tender offer to purchase all the outstanding shares of common stock of Nasdaq-listed AveXis for $218 per share, net to the seller in cash, without interest and subject to any tax withholding.
The Swiss drugmaking giant said the offer was being made under the terms and conditions set out in its offer to purchase, dated 17 April, and pursuant to the terms of the previously-announced agreement and plan of merger, dated 6 April.
In a separate announcement on Tuesday, Novartis announced a five-year commitment to the fight against malaria in conjunction with the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Conference and the Malaria Summit of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
It also released new African research on progress and remaining challenges toward the 2030 malaria elimination targets, together with Elimination 8 and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust program.
Over the next five years, as part of its commitment, Novartis said it would invest more than $100m to advance research and development of next-generation treatments to combat emerging resistance to artemisinin and other currently used antimalarials.
The company said it would also implement an equitable pricing strategy to maximise patient access in malaria-endemic countries when the new treatments became available.
In order to contribute to the WHO's target of reducing malaria-related child mortality by at least 90% by 2030, Novartis committed to further helping to expand access to pediatric antimalarials, and implement healthcare system strengthening programs in four sub-Saharan countries.
“Resistance to treatment presents the biggest threat to the incredible progress that has been made in the fight against malaria in the past 20 years,” said Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan.
“We cannot afford to wait; this is why we are committing to advance the research and development of next-generation treatments.
“At the same time, we need to work to ensure that our innovation reaches those most in need, even those in the most remote locations.”
The research and development investment was intended to advance the Novartis malaria pipeline through 2023 and to complete a comprehensive global clinical trial program for its novel antimalarial drug candidates KAF156 and KAE609 – currently in Phase IIb and Phase IIa respectively.
Both were from new classes of medicines that were selected for their ability to treat malaria in different ways from current therapies.
The investment also included new uses of technology to identify areas where the malaria burden is greatest.
Novartis said that information could then be used to support capability and capacity building to establish future clinical trial sites, so the medicines could be evaluated in the populations where they were most needed.