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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Novartis steps up MS digital presence with iPhone app

The app allows users to record their symptoms, general well-being, medications and other factors.

Positive H7N9 data could help Novartis hawk flu vax business

After agreeing to unload most of its struggling vaccines unit to GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis now has just its influenza vaccines to ship off as it looks to focus on other core businesses. And new, promising data for the Swiss drug giant's H7N9 bird flu candidate could give the company a boost as it looks to lock down a buyer.

Novartis sees brain-atrophy data as an edge for MS pill Gilenya

Fresh off winning European backing for broader use--which could prompt more multiple sclerosis patients to switch--Gilenya's ability to protect patients' brains is at center stage at this week's American Academy of Neurology meeting.

Report: Drug prices skyrocketing, with no end in sight

Despite a wave of M&A deals aimed at increasing efficiency and lowering expenses in the pharmaceutical industry, drug prices continue to rise, with several drug companies nearly doubling the costs of key products over the last 7 years. That's the conclusion of an analysis prepared for Bloomberg by DRX, a California-based provider of health software.

With Big Pharma mergers in the works, whose SG&A costs look ripe for cutting?

When Big Pharma starts talking about big buyouts, the sales and marketing departments start chattering about their jobs. Last week's Novartis-plus-GlaxoSmithKline cancer deal is one prime example. Another, bigger one: Pfizer's proposed $100 billion-or-so buyout of AstraZeneca.

Novartis grabs early FDA approval of lung cancer drug Zykadia

After a quick march through the clinic, Novartis has won early FDA approval for the new "breakthrough" lung cancer drug ceritinib (or LDK378), which will now be launched as Zykadia.

Transgene takes a hit as Novartis shreds $800M option deal

France's Transgene took a hit this morning after the biotech announced that Novartis had decided to pass on its option for the therapeutic cancer vaccine TG4010. But the CEO says he's laying the groundwork for a late-stage study, confident that he can find another partner.

Novartis hopes new COPD study data will draw patients from Glaxo's Advair

Novartis' generic of Advair in Europe is already a thorn in GlaxoSmithKline's side when it comes to sales of the declining blockbuster. Now, it says, another of its lung drugs has turned out positive study data that show its non-inferiority to Glaxo's top seller in COPD, and with its more convenient dosing regimen, it could prompt patients on Advair to make the switch.

No big thrill from Novartis in Q1, just a 'solid' $14B in sales

After Tuesday's precedent-setting deal announcement, today's earnings release from Novartis had to be an anticlimax. And it was: The results were described using unexciting words like "solid" and "flat" and "nice" and "largely in line."

GSK's R&D staff hit with trade rumors spurred by Novartis' cancer pact

GlaxoSmithKline hasn't spelled out exactly how its big deal with Novartis will impact individual workers. But the rumor mill has it that more than 100 investigators in cancer R&D in Collegeville, PA, are about to become Novartis workers.