The reinvention of Novartis

THE BOSS of Novartis is on a buying spree. Vas Narasimhan has been shopping for new medicines that will reinvent his drug company. His aim is to turn a stodgy European conglomerate into a cutting-edge pharmaceuticals firm by decluttering it of unwanted assets and placing big bets on advanced medicines. These are more precise in the way they work and are likely to play an increasing role in health care in the future. By shuffling the deck, Mr Narasimhan says he is focusing on “transformative innovation”. All bosses of pharma firms like to boast about that kind of thing. Nonetheless, there is substance to the changes afoot at Novartis.

The latest acquisition, announced on November 24th, of the Medicines Company for $9.7bn, brings with it a promising cardiac drug that targets bad cholesterol, and which can be given in only two annual shots. In less than two years at the helm, Mr Narasimhan has also snapped up an eye drug from Takeda for up to $5.3bn, Endocyte, a small biopharma firm, for $2.1bn, and AveXis, a gene-therapy firm, for $8.7bn. He has boasted about having a pipeline of 25 blockbuster drugs. If they all come good it would be remarkable.

Out has gone the firm’s stake in a joint consumer health-care venture with GSK, a British pharma firm, for $13bn. Alcon, its eye-care division, has been spun off into a...

via Business Feeds

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