Trending News Today: Novartis to Acquire AveXis to Advance Drug Development for Rare Disease

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Novartis AG agreed to acquire AveXis Inc for $8.7 billion to gain a promising drug to treat a rare disease that affects infants in an effort to advance its reach in gene therapy and precision medicines, Bloomberg reported. AveXis is developing a product to treat spinal muscular atrophy, an inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a defect in a single gene, according to the article. Bloomberg reported that this is Novartis’ second deal to advance gene therapy this year, with the first being a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

Accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island declined in 2017 after years of steady increases, according to the Associated Press. The Associated Press reported that state health officials said that deaths in 2017 were down to 323 from 336 in 2016, an approximately 4% decrease. According to the article, a new program designed to treat inmates for opioid addiction in prison contributed to the decline.

On Friday, the Trump administration announced a new director for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), The Hill reported. According to the article, Adam Boehler, former CEO of Landmark Health, a home-based medical care company, has been tapped as the new director for the office. The CMMI has the potential to put forward controversial projects aimed at reforming the health care system, according to The Hill.