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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After a Phase II win, Novartis hints at an early app for its skin cancer pill

Novartis said its in-development skin cancer drug aced a Phase II study, completely eradicating the disease in some patients, and now the company plans to loop in regulators, possibly signaling an early FDA application for the treatment.

Novartis advertising probe intensifies with Tokyo office raid

Prosecutors came knocking at Novartis' Tokyo offices, stepping up their probe of the Swiss drugmaker's Diovan advertising. The Japanese authorities raided the local unit as part of an investigation into allegations that Diovan data was manipulated, and advertising for the blood pressure drug relied on that rigged data.

Novartis' Bexsero sparks debate about transatlantic vaccine approvals

While the meningitis B outbreak has died down, the debate it stirred up continues. This week researchers at the Manhattan Institute weighed in with their opinion: If a vaccine is good enough for Europe, it is good enough for the U.S..

Servier stages an entry into high-stakes CAR-T showdown with Novartis

The French biotech announced this morning that it will collaborate with Paris-based Cellectis on UCART19, an engineered T cell with a chimeric antigen receptor for leukemia and lymphomas, as well as 5 other such programs. Servier is paying Cellectis $10 million down and up to $140 million per program in milestones in its gamble on the biotech's approach.

Novartis beefs up its cancer immunotherapy pipeline with a biotech buyout

Novartis is gobbling up a startup biotech in the U.S. that could help provide an entry into the frenzied race for PD-1 targeting therapies, announcing this morning that it had struck a deal to buy CoStim Pharmaceuticals, a low-profile biotech based in Cambridge, MA, and listed as part of Atlas Venture's group of companies.

Novartis CEO Jimenez looking for new places to hatchet blockbuster R&D budget

Novartis may have a long way to go before it's done cutting its blockbuster R&D budget. With a major strategic review underway, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez told analysts that its massive drug research operation still offers a fresh source of spending cuts--even after a number of moves aimed at concentrating more of its R&D operations in the company's main research hubs in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Novartis aims for super-speed with strategic review, CEO tells analysts

Want the latest on Novartis' should-we-or-shouldn't-we asset review? Leerink Partners analysts met with CEO Joe Jimenez recently, so they can deliver that and more, including some hints at cost-cutting targets.

The most influential people in biopharma today

Any industry that's undergoing as much change as biopharma is always looking for leadership. Old marketing practices are being blown apart, R&D is being subjected to emergency surgery, drug...

Novartis is expanding a plant in Singapore

Novartis is expanding a plant in Singapore and the international engineering and construction firm PM Group is helping.

Buzz: Novartis mulls selling its vaccine unit as swap deal with Merck stalls

Last week Novartis' vaccine unit posted yet another operating loss, extending its streak in the red to four years. Yet despite its well-known, long-term problems, suitors are reportedly circling the unit, with the potential of Bexsero and Menveo likely to be a factor attracting potential buyers.