Novartis has rechristened Avexis, a gene therapy which it acquired in May 2018, as Novartis Gene Therapies. The change illustrates the companies growing focus on gene therapies. Dave Lennon, President of Avexis, now becomes the President of Novartis Gene Therapies.
Novartis has supported the commercialization of Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), an AAV -based gene therapy for the treatment of spinal muscular dystrophy (SMA) in children. Novartis will lead the research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of the second wave AAV-based gene therapies.
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Novartis has six gene therapy projects in its pipeline, including investigational treatments for Rett syndrome, and Friedreich's ataxia. Renaming of the company is said to be a 'natural evolution' as Novartis aims to establish a global presence of Zolgensma and other upcoming pipeline gene therapies.
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Zolgensma is the world's most expensive drug, priced at $2.1 million. Novartis has reported that since its approval, more than 600 patients have been treated by Zolgensma, making it the most widely used gene therapy in the world. The product is approve in Europe, Japan, and Brazil along with the United States. Novartis further anticipating the approval of Zolgensma in Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Argentina and South Korea by the end of this year or early next year.
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