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(Bloomberg) -- Novartis AG is considering a deal for radiopharmaceutical company Advanced Accelerator Applications SA as the giant Swiss drugmaker seeks acquisitions to boost growth, according to people familiar with the matter.

Novartis has approached AAA, as the company is known, about a deal and held talks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. AAA, which has a market value of almost $2.6 billion, could also attract interest from other drugmakers, the people said. No deal has been reached and talks may fall apart, the people said.

Representatives for Novartis and AAA declined to comment.

AAA makes radiopharmaceuticals, or radioactive drugs, used to diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer. Italian academics founded the company in 2002 as a spinoff of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN. AAA is based in Saint-Genis-Pouilly, a French town just outside Geneva.

The company counts 21 production and research and development sites. It employs more than 530 people in 13 countries.

Novartis is hunting for assets to bolster its businesses in areas from cancer to cardiovascular disease. The company also faces decisions on the future of its ailing Alcon eye-care business and its stake in crosstown rival Roche Holding AG.

Novartis this month announced the surprise departure of Chief Executive Officer Joseph Jimenez after eight years at the helm of Europe’s largest drugmaker, handing off the challenge of selling underperforming assets and developing new medicines to Vasant Narasimhan, a Harvard-trained doctor.

AAA’s American depositary receipts have more than doubled this year as European Union regulators recommended approval of the company’s Lutathera treatment for neuroendocrine tumors.

AAA sold the rights at $16 each in a U.S. initial public offering in 2015. The company’s second-biggest shareholder after Fidelity Investments is HBM Healthcare Investments AG, a publicly traded Swiss investment fund that bought a stake before the IPO.

--With assistance from Ed Hammond

To contact the reporters on this story: Manuel Baigorri in London at mbaigorri@bloomberg.net, Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net, Aaron Kirchfeld in London at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Fournier at efournier5@bloomberg.net, Phil Serafino, Michael Hytha

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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