Focusing our company
We took important steps in 2018 to focus Novartis as a leading medicines company, divesting non-core businesses and increasing investments in transformative new types of treatments. In addition to selling our stake in the consumer health joint venture with GSK, we announced plans to spin off our Alcon eye care division in 2019, pending final approvals, while at the same time maintaining our strong position in ophthalmic pharmaceuticals.
Our Sandoz generics division moved to optimize its core generics business and increase focus on complex generics and biosimilars. As part of this effort, Sandoz announced plans to sell a portfolio of about 300 medicines and dermatology products in the US to Aurobindo.
We continued to build new technology platforms that we believe will address important unmet medical needs. To reinforce our leading position in cell and gene therapies, we purchased AveXis, a US company developing a breakthrough therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, a severe and often deadly neuromuscular disease caused by a genetic defect.
We are also building our expertise in nuclear medicines, which use precision-targeted radioactive particles to fight disease. We completed the purchase of Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) and launched Lutathera, a radioligand therapy for a rare type of cancer of the gut or pancreas. To complement the capabilities of AAA, we also acquired Endocyte, a US company developing innovative radioligand and CAR-T therapies for cancer treatment.