Novartis AG CEO Taking a Hard Look at Swiss Costs, Possible Bolt-On Acquisitions

Published: Jan 26, 2015

Novartis AG CEO Taking a Hard Look at Swiss Costs, Possible Bolt-On Acquisitions
January 23, 2015
By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

Swiss biopharmaceutical company Novartis AG announced on Jan. 22 that it would be reviewing its Swiss cost base following the end cap on the franc, according to Reuters. Joe Jimenez, chief executive of Novartis, told the news source that the company will need to review its position in Switzerland and look at bolt-on acquisitions.

"We'll have to take a hard look at what's in Switzerland and what could move outside," Jimenez told Reuters. Although the company has just 2 percent of its sales in Switzerland, it had 12 percent of its costs in the country in 2013. Jimenez went onto say that the company is seeing an upsurge in productivity as more drug approvals roll in.

Most recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Jan. 21 that it had approved of Novartis’ drug, Cosentyx, for the treatment of psoriasis. It’s projected to bring in $1 billion, and Novartis is expecting its drug for heart failure to receive approval later this year, which will generate additional revenue.

An In-Depth Look at LCZ696
LCZ696, Novartis’ heart failure treatment product, is predicted to receive approval at some point in 2015. The drug is a twice-a-day medicine that enhances the neurohormonal systems of the heart while suppressing the RAAS, the harmful system. LCZ696 is an Angiotensin Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor, and it’s thought to reduce strain on a failing heart.

In November 2014, Novartis announced that the Committee for the Medicinal Products for Human Use had granted accelerated assessment to the drug for patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

"Novartis is committed to extending and improving more lives sooner with LCZ696, and this decision by the CHMP we hope will greatly support our effort to do so in Europe," said David Epstein, division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

In the U.S., the drug has already received Fast Track designation from the FDA. Novartis requested the accelerated assessment of LCZ696 in accordance with the European Medicines Agency’s regulations. The company hoped that it may be justified for “medicinal products of major interest from the point of view of public health and in particular from the view point of therapeutic innovation.”

Each year, heart failure is thought to cost the worldwide economy approximately $108 billion. Hospitalization makes up about 70 percent of treatment costs.

BioSpace Temperature Poll
What Are Your Predictions for the Price Bidding War? The market has been buzzing about an escalating price war between large payers like Express Scripts and Big Pharma. Multiple deals last week showed Gilead forming exclusive pacts and smaller companies like Kite Pharma starting talks early. What do you think will be the effect on prices? BioSpace wants your opinion!

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