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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The top 10 largest pharma layoffs in 2013

Layoffs are always big news in pharma, seen as an indicator of the health of the industry. Of course, the factors that eventually lead to layoffs are not simple. Often the patent cliff is to blame, but--as many of 2013's biggest cuts show--it's not always the culprit. Whatever the reason, pharma cutbacks are closely watched by investors, employees and competitors alike. Here's our report on the largest layoffs of 2013.

The top 10 pharma companies in social media

Chatting with the public is not in pharma's comfort zone. Drugmakers are adept at the one-way communication known as direct-to-consumer advertising, and some of them deal well with the media....

EMA hands Novartis good news on Xolair but a rebuke for serelaxin

Swiss drugmaker Novartis got a mixed bag of news from European regulators Friday. It got a recommendation for its asthma drug Xolair to treat a chronic form of hives. Regulators, however, slapped down its new heart drug serelaxin, a product that Novartis is counting on bringing in more than a billion dollars a year.

European regulators hand Novartis a big setback on a top blockbuster prospect

European regulators handed Novartis a major setback in its quest to gain an approval for serelaxin, one of the pharma giant's top blockbuster prospects which earned "breakthrough" status at the FDA.

Novartis puts New York plant that makes Diovan next on its shutdown list

Novartis is in the middle of tightening its focus and cutting down on costs. But as the Swiss drugmaker goes through the evaluation process, its North American manufacturing is taking some hits. The most recent is a New York plant that employs 525, which the company now confirms it will be shutting down.

Biotechs trumpet pandemic vaccine deals and data as the H7N9 bird flu threat grows

The H7N9 bird flu virus is once again spreading across China, and with evidence of human-to-human transmission also mounting, the need for effective vaccines is growing. The U.S. National Institutes of Health is trialing a Sanofi vaccine, and a number of smaller companies are also developing H7N9 vaccines.

Now it's New York: Novartis eyes another 500-plus job cuts with plant shutdown

Novartis apparently has job cuts on its January to-do list. After announcing a 500-job shuffle in Switzerland yesterday, the drugmaker now confirms that it will shutter a New York plant that employs 525 people.

Novartis launches joint pain gel in India with Phosphagenics' delivery tech

Novartis launched a topical gel in India designed to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatism and injury.

Novartis manufacturing gets more jobs in major restructuring

Novartis is whacking support jobs in its pharmaceutical division but said it is adding elsewhere, including in over-the-counter manufacturing and supply chain, so that the company's headcount will remain unchanged at about 15,000, Reuters reports.

Novartis to cut 500 Swiss pharma jobs, then staff up in OTC, generics

To cover new drug launches, both branded and generic, Novartis is cutting 500 jobs in its pharma division in Switzerland and hiring up elsewhere. It's the latest job-trimming move at the Swiss drugmaker, which has shed thousands of jobs over the last several years.