Novartis hires marketing chief ahead of big drug launches

Nancy Lurker has been appointed senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Novartis, a new position at the drug company. As the company’s second highest executive, Lurker has overall responsibility for Novartis units in cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory/dermatology and arthritis/bone/gastrointestinal/hormone replacement/urinary, the company said. She is also a member of the executive committee. Her hiring is seen as a preparatory move. Novartis has several big product launches scheduled to start later this year and into next: Galvus (type 2 diabetes), Rasilez and Exforge (hypertension), Xolair (asthma) and Lucentis (eye disease). Lurker has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical industry experience. Most recently, she was president and chief executive of ImpactRx, a pharmaceutical market research firm. Prior to that, she was group VP, global prescription business, at Pharmacia, with responsibility for marketing primary care products in cardiovascular, CNS, urology, respiratory and women’s health. Lurker started as a sales rep for Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1984. She went on to hold numerous positions with the company in marketing, strategy, new products and sales, eventually being named senior director, worldwide cardiovascular franchise management.