Novartis has confirmed that Swiss competition authorities raided the company’s headquarters in Basel earlier this week.

The Swiss drugmaker issued a statement noting that the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) initiated an investigation into the company in collaboration with the European Commission. The subject of the investigation is the “assertion of a patent” in the area of dermatology treatments.

Novartis said that it is cooperating with authorities and remains “confident to clarify the legitimacy of its position.” It added that it will not comment further on an ongoing investigation. 

For its part, COMCO issued a statement confirming that its investigation involves “possible unlawful use of a patent to reduce competitive pressure.” It added that Novartis allegedly attempted to protect its dermatology treatment against competing products by leveraging one of its patents to initiate legal proceedings.

This potential use of a blocking patent would amount to “unlawful abuse of an allegedly dominant position,” COMCO said, citing the Swiss Cartel Act. 

The raid comes amid a host of Novartis headlines. Earlier this week, Biogen sued Novartis subsidiary Sandoz to block a biosimilar of its MS drug Tysabri. This came weeks after Novartis announced plans to spin off Sandoz as a standalone company. 

The main storyline surrounding Novartis in 2022 has been its ongoing restructuring, which the company says will deliver savings of $1.5 billion by 2024. 

The company has also announced that it will merge its pharmaceutical and oncology units into its innovative medicines business and indicated that 7% of its workforce would be let go amid the reorganization. Of the cuts taking place in Switzerland, up to half of them are slated to affect individuals in leadership positions.

In its most recent earnings report, the company reported a 36% year-over-year decline in operating income along with a 1% drop in net sales.