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.
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."
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.
The big trend in Big Pharma R&D has been to cut back significantly in key areas where they felt they faced extraordinarily high risks--a particular problem in the central nervous system field, where trial failures have been more the norm than the exception.
After years of struggles and months of speculation, Novartis is finally kissing its vaccines unit goodbye. As part of a company-wide revamp, the Swiss drugmaker will send the division to the U.K., where GlaxoSmithKline will be waiting with open arms to take on a vaccines business that will give it an edge in meningitis and bolster its pipeline.
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez is on record saying he's "a big fan" of the company's consumer health business. But that doesn't mean he has to run it. The Swiss drugmaker gets to have its consumer health and hand it off, too, in a new joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline.
In addition to all of the other deals that Novartis announced today, an agreement to sell deal contract manufacturer LTS Lohmann is reportedly close, with private equity firm Nordic Capital expected to get it for about $1.7 billion, Bloomberg reported.
The full manufacturing implications of the complex three-way business swaps and sales that Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly announced today will take some time to sort out.
In an announcement full of surprises from Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, the sale of the Swiss company's vaccines division to Glaxo may have been the least surprising part.
Why would GlaxoSmithKline sell most of its cancer business to Novartis? In today's deal announcement, that particular sale stands up for questioning.