Novartis' Hantson to lead Baxter's international business

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Novartis North America pharma chief Ludwig Hantson, PhD has joined specialty biopharma Baxter International as head of international operations.

Hantson, whose departure from Novartis was confirmed yesterday, starts at Baxter as corporate VP and president, international on May 3. Based in Deerfield, IL, Baxter makes treatments for hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma and other chronic and acute medical conditions.

Hantson, 47, joined Novartis from Janssen Pharmaceutica in 2001, and headed the company's US specialty pharmaceuticals business and its European pharmaceuticals operations before being named CEO, pharma for North America in 2008.  

“Geographic expansion continues to be a key growth driver for Baxter,” said Baxter chairman and CEO Robert Parkinson, Jr. in a statement. “Our global presence and the strength of our local and regional organizations position us to meet the ever-increasing demand for healthcare worldwide, particularly for the medically necessary products that we provide. Ludwig brings significant international and scientific knowledge and expertise to Baxter, and he will be a tremendous asset to the company in his new role leading our international business.”

Novartis said yesterday a replacement for Hantson would be announced “shortly.” The Swiss drug giant confirmed other significant changes to its US business following an In Vivo report. The company will establish four new US business units focused on primary care, multiple sclerosis, psychiatry/neuroscience and respiratory/transplant/infectious disease while consolidating its five regional offices in primary care sales and marketing to four, eliminating 383 mostly headquarters-based posts in the process but adding reps on its MS sales force as it seeks approval for Gilenia (fingolimod).
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