No­var­tis has scrapped a fifth of its pro­grams in pur­suit of 'tru­ly im­pact­ful' drugs, Brad­ner re­veals

It turns out the wave of glob­al re­struc­tur­ing at No­var­tis has claimed more than just jobs — it’s al­so tak­en a siz­able chunk of its re­search pipeline.

In an in­ter­view with Bloomberg, Jay Brad­ner, pres­i­dent of the No­var­tis In­sti­tutes for Bio­med­ical Re­search, re­vealed that the phar­ma gi­ant has scrapped 90 drug pro­grams af­ter a re­view, down­siz­ing its port­fo­lio from 430 to 340.

The fate of these as­sets might range from di­vesti­ture to ter­mi­na­tion to sit­ting “on the shelf for a lit­tle while,” he added, giv­ing way to the “tru­ly im­pact­ful, tru­ly dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed, tru­ly im­por­tant med­i­cines” his team will now fo­cus on.

Vas Narasimhan

Brad­ner’s dis­clo­sure comes just a day af­ter his new­ly mint­ed boss — and for­mer glob­al R&D chief — Vas Narasimhan went on the record with STAT elu­ci­dat­ing his vi­sion for the Swiss phar­ma gi­ant “as a lead­ing med­i­cines com­pa­ny pow­ered by dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies.”

I al­so be­lieve we’re in a mo­ment in time where there are new av­enues open­ing up in high-end in­no­va­tion that can trans­form the lives of pa­tients and im­prove pub­lic health. I see that as a tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ty. But you have to fo­cus on it. It can’t just be an­oth­er thing you add on.

No­var­tis made a no­table ex­it from an­tibi­otics re­search that shook the in­dus­try in Ju­ly, cut­ting staff and putting a group of pre­clin­i­cal as­sets on sale though it ac­knowl­edged “the sci­ence for these pro­grams is com­pelling.”

Brad­ner ex­pressed a sim­i­lar sen­ti­ment to­ward the projects be­ing shed­ded, which in­clude the in­fec­tious dis­eases pipeline.

“The sad­ness about these 90 projects is there’s some great sci­ence there,” Brad­ner told Bloomberg. “These are not bad ideas. Many of them have mo­men­tum, but they ei­ther are not like­ly to be trans­for­ma­tive for pa­tients, or are ill-suit­ed to the fo­cused busi­ness am­bi­tions of No­var­tis.”

Jay Brad­ner, Pres­i­dent of the No­var­tis In­sti­tutes for Bio­Med­ical Re­search (NI­BR). JEFF RU­MANS, END­POINTS NEWS

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan [via Bloomberg/Getty]

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