Business briefs: Novartis, Regeneron and Pfizer
Novartis Chair Joerg Reinhardt has outlined his core goal for the job, weeks into his new role: to scuttle businesses where Novartis does not lead, and to focus on those where it does, and can be among the top companies, reports Bloomberg, which interviewed the company's new executive. Reinhardt told Bloomberg that he's is open to acquisitions, in the outer range of $10 billion, but that the company has stopped pursuing Onyx, which is being courted by AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Amgen. The focus on being a category leader means the OTC business may not make the cut: “Novartis is not among the top players and it will be necessary to strengthen that business...if we decide to stay in it,” Reinhardt said, as reported by Bloomberg, which also notes the company's vaccine business has been lackluster. Wednesday's news narrative also included reports that the Swiss company is being scrutinized for alleged misconduct in China. Pharmalot reports that a former sales reps claims Novartis bribed doctors and hospitals. Novartis says it is looking into the matter and Pharmalot notes that the country's industry investigation may be a way for the government to boost its local industry or “use this as leverage to extract lower prices from global drugmakers.”
Eylea sales are pushing Regeneron to expand. The Times Union reports that the maker of the Wet AMD and macular edema drug is now in expanding its manufacturing plant in East Greenbush, NY. The Times Union notes that the manufacturing expansion follows an early growth spurt in which the company added office space.
Pfizer and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have teamed up in an obesity and diabetes effort. BioCentury reports that Sanford-Burnham will look for new drug targets to prevent and treat insulin resistance in these two conditions, and look for matches between targets and drugs in the NIH chemical library and among Pfizer's investigational compounds.
The FDA approved an MS clinical trial using stem cells, the Tisch MS Research Center announced Wednesday. The study will harvest stem cells from the patient's bone marrow and inject them into the patient's spinal fluid. Tisch says 20 patients will make up the trial, which will include three rounds of injections at three-month intervals.