The Swiss pharma company Novartis ranks in the top 10 of pharma companies, and boasts drugs ranging from Ritalin and Lamisil to clozapine, Diovan and Gilenya. It also owns the generic giant Sandoz. Unlike its competitor, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis did not offer free flu vaccines during the H1N1 flu epidemic.

In March 2011, Novartis gained FDA approval for Gilenya, its multiple sclerosis drug. The nod came on the heels of a narrower EMA approval, which grants second-line treatment status. According to experts, the drug could be worth $3 billion in annual sales as the first oral MS drug on the market.

Novartis purchased the remaining portion of eye care company Alcon in a $12.9 billion deal at the end of 2010, marking the end of one of the biggest battles in biopharma. Although many analysts predicted heavy layoffs in 2010 from the company, only 1,400 jobs were cut in December 2010, with the disclaimer that more could be on the way as Novartis, like others in the industry, analyzes its efficiency.

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Latest Headlines

Roche joins Novartis' billion-dollar bet on Ophthotech's eye drug

Roche's Genentech is pairing up with Novartis to split the ex-U.S. rights to an Ophthotech eye drug, opting into an agreement that could be worth more than $1 billion.

Top Novartis exec in India says two plants warned by FDA completing remediation

Novartis India Managing Director Ranjit Shahani told India's PTI that the drugmaker expects upgrades at two Sandoz plants that were issued a warning letter by the FDA to soon be back to full production.

UPDATED: Novartis Japan issued business improvement order by MHLW

Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said a business improvement order was issued to the Japan unit of Swiss-based Novartis on Nov. 13 for failing to report unspecified drug side effects on time, the third such sanction for the company in 18 months.

Analysts improve outlook for Teva's Copaxone as it shakes off Novartis competition

Teva did everything in its power to block generic copies of lead drug Copaxone from hitting the market. But now that one is here--Novartis' Glatopa--the Israeli drugmaker's giant is faring better than industry watchers expected.

Novartis, Roche CEOs see performance-based future, but U.S. isn't ready yet

Amgen may have pulled off a pay-for-performance pricing deal on its pricey new cholesterol drug Repatha with Boston-based Harvard Pilgrim. But other outcomes-based pricing negotiations haven't been as successful, and there are major reasons why.

Big Pharma warns scientific skills shortage could hold Britain back

Throughout the tough times faced by the British biopharma industry, the country could always point to its scientific excellence as a source of pride. Now, with more money swilling around, the sector should be enjoying better days, yet as financial woes have receded another resource shortage has come into view: The United Kingdom appears to be running low on scientists.

Sources: Novartis faces yet another sanction in Japan

In case Novartis didn't get the message the first two times around about how displeased Japanese authorities are about its missteps in the country, they are expected to once again censure the Swiss drugmaker.  

Novartis, others face higher manufacturing costs with CAR-T cell treatments

When Novartis picked up a plant from Dendreon three years ago, the Swiss drugmaker said it intended to use it for production of its novel cancer therapies which will be customized to each patient's own immune system T cells. While promising as another cancer fighter, what Novartis and others in the so-called CAR-T field must figure out is how to cost-effectively manufacture such personalized treatments, one of the obstacles that led Dendreon to bankruptcy court.

Novartis' inhaler for COPD gets FDA approval

Novartis announced FDA approval last week of its Utibron Neohaler as a long-term maintenance treatment for COPD via the delivery of the bronchodilating agents indacaterol and glycopyrrolate.

Novartis sees doc-education push, DTC as crucial to amping up Entresto launch

When Novartis was preparing to roll out its new heart failure drug Entresto, market watchers expected big things. But when the sales numbers rolled in for the third quarter, Entresto only accounted for $16 million--and that's mostly from wholesaler stocking. What's going on? It's partly a story of payer barriers.