Vas Narasimhan, Shutterstock

Thou­sands of lay­offs planned as part of No­var­tis re­struc­tur­ing — re­port

No­var­tis’ sweep­ing re­struc­tur­ing will re­port­ed­ly lead to thou­sands of job cuts world­wide, in­clud­ing a “three-dig­it num­ber” in its home of Switzer­land.

Swiss news­pa­per Tages-Anzeiger first re­port­ed the plans, cit­ing un­named sources. In re­sponse to a query from End­points News, a No­var­tis spokesper­son said roles will “in­evitably” be im­pact­ed but de­clined to dis­cuss num­bers.

The new or­ga­ni­za­tion­al struc­ture which we an­nounced last week is cen­tral to our growth strat­e­gy as it will make us more ag­ile and com­pet­i­tive, en­hance pa­tient and cus­tomer ori­en­ta­tion, un­lock sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial in our R&D pipeline and dri­ve val­ue cre­ation through op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies. These ef­fi­cien­cies will come through lean­er struc­tures and will in­evitably lead to roles be­ing im­pact­ed.

How­ev­er, at this time it is too ear­ly to in­di­cate any spe­cif­ic num­bers. We ex­pect the new struc­ture to be ful­ly in place and op­er­a­tional by end of 2022.

The com­ments echo a pre­vi­ous state­ment from No­var­tis. Lay­offs were ex­pect­ed when CEO Vas Narasimhan an­nounced a plan to chop more than $1 bil­lion in costs by com­bin­ing the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and on­col­o­gy busi­ness­es, meld­ing three groups — cor­po­rate strat­e­gy, R&D port­fo­lio strat­e­gy and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment — in­to one and find­ing ways to con­sol­i­date things bet­ter.

The phar­ma gi­ant cur­rent­ly em­ploys about 108,000 peo­ple around the globe. Three key ex­ecs are al­ready head­ed out as part of the re­vamp: John Tsai, head of de­vel­op­ment and CMO; Su­sanne Schaf­fert, head of on­col­o­gy; and Robert Wel­tevre­den, who has run cus­tomer and tech­nol­o­gy so­lu­tions.

A new era of treat­ment: How bio­mark­ers are chang­ing the way we think about can­cer

AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

For two years, Patel had been going from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose his wheezing, only to be dealt the devastating news that he had stage IV lung cancer and only six months to live. And then they found the brain tumors.

“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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Ted White, Verrica Pharmaceuticals CEO

'Hands may be tied': FDA slaps Ver­ri­ca with 3rd CRL due to prob­lems with con­tract man­u­fac­tur­er

The FDA has rejected Verrica Pharmaceuticals’ skin disease treatment for a third time — and once again the contract manufacturer is to blame.

The biotech emphasized that the only deficiency in the complete response letter is related to a general reinspection of the CMO, Sterling Pharmaceuticals, and has nothing to do specifically with its drug-device; the rest of the NDA is good to go.

CEO Ted White said the company is “extremely disappointed,” but will keep working toward approval.

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Cracks in the fa­cade: Is phar­ma's pan­dem­ic ‘feel good fac­tor’ wan­ing?

The discordant effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on pharma reputation continues. While the overall industry still retains a respectable halo from its Covid-19 quick response and leadership, a new patient group study reveals a different story emerging in the details.

On one hand, US patient advocacy groups rated the industry higher-than-ever overall. More than two-thirds (67%) of groups gave the industry a thumbs up for 2021, a whopping 10 percentage point increase over the year before, according to the PatientView annual study, now in its 9th year.

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Anthony Fauci (AP Images)

West Vir­ginia man faces prison time for threat­en­ing emails to Fau­ci, oth­er health of­fi­cials

NIAID director Anthony Fauci gained hero status amid the pandemic, earning Americans’ trust and even Time magazine’s Guardian of the Year title. But he and other federal health officials have also faced intense threats, according to charges brought by the US Department of Justice.

A West Virginia man is facing up to 10 years in prison after threatening Fauci, former NIH director Francis Collins, and HHS assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine via email, the DOJ said on Monday. Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., pleaded guilty on Monday to using an anonymous email address to threaten the officials for performing their official duties, including discussing Covid-19 testing and prevention.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO (Charles Krupa/AP Images)

Mod­er­na chief Ban­cel to do­nate about $355M worth of ear­ly stock to char­i­ty

Four days ago, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel was made a Chevalier — basically knighted — in his home country of France. And now the billionaire CEO said he will exercise and donate about  $355 million in stock options.

Bancel announced early Tuesday via a blog post that he and his wife Brenda will be donating the after-tax proceeds of his original stock options to charity — the stock options Bancel was granted back in 2013 after he became CEO, two years after he first joined the mRNA specialist outfit.

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Co­pay coupons gone wrong, again: Pfiz­er pays al­most $300K to set­tle com­plaints in four states

Pfizer has agreed to pay $290,000 to settle allegations of questionable copay coupon practices in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Vermont from 2014 to 2018.

While the company has not admitted any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Pfizer has agreed to issue restitution checks to about 5,000 consumers.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company has “enhanced its co-pay coupons to alleviate the concerns raised by states and agreed to a $30,000 payment to each.”

Delaware court rules against Gilead and Astel­las in years-long patent case

A judge in Delaware has ruled against Astellas Pharma and Gilead in a long-running patent case over Pfizer-onwed Hospira’s generic version of Lexiscan.

The case kicked off in 2018, after Hospira submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for approval to market a generic version of Gilead’s Lexiscan. The drug is used in myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), a type of nuclear stress test.

Taye Diggs (courtesy Idorsia)

Idor­sia inks an­oth­er celebri­ty en­dors­er deal with ac­tor and dad Taye Dig­gs as Qu­viviq in­som­nia am­bas­sador

Idorsia’s latest Quviviq insomnia campaign details the relatable dad story of a well-known celebrity — actor and Broadway star Taye Diggs.

Diggs stopped sleeping well after the birth of his son, now more than 10 years ago. Switching mom-and-dad nightly shifts to take care of a baby interrupted his sleep patterns and led to insomnia.

“When you’re lucky enough to be living out your dream and doing what you want, but because of something as simple as a lack of sleep, you’re unable to do that, it felt absolutely — it was treacherous,” he says in an interview-style video on the Quviviq website.

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Belén Garijo, Merck KGaA CEO (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for EMD Serono)

Mer­ck KGaA pumps €440M in­to ex­pand­ing and con­struct­ing Irish man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties

The area of Ireland famous for Blarney Castle and its cliffsides along the Atlantic Ocean is seeing Merck KGaA expand its commitment there.

The German drug manufacturer is expanding its membrane and filtration manufacturing capabilities in Ireland. The company will invest approximately €440 million ($470 million) to increase membrane manufacturing capacity in Carrigtwohill, Ireland, and build a new manufacturing facility at Blarney Business Park, in County Cork, Ireland.