Novartis Corporation has what the doctor ordered. As the US headquarters of Switzerland-based Novartis AG, the unit handles administration, sales, and marketing for a vast product line of prescription drugs, vaccines, consumer medicines, and veterinary products. But wait, there's more! Novartis Corporation also oversees the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, which is headquartered in the US, and charged with the job of discovering new medicines to add to the company's ever-expanding pipeline. Novartis Corporation also headlines dozens of other US business units including Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC) and the US locations of Novartis' Alcon ophthalmics and Sandoz generics businesses.
Novartis Corporation plays an important role in the global Novartis organization, as the US is the group's largest market accounting for about one-third of annual revenues. Product-wise, the Pharmaceuticals division makes up the largest segment, accounting for more than half of Novartis' global sales. Therapeutic branches of concentration span a range of medical ailments including those in the cardiovascular, metabolic, cancer, organ transplantation, central nervous system, respiratory, and infectious disease areas.
Some of Novartis Corporation's key US brands include blood pressure medication Diovan and leukemia drug Gleevec. Newer products launched in the US market include schizophrenia drug Fanapt (launched in 2010), multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya (2010), and pulmonary disease medication Arcapta (2011).
The Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) aims to discover new pharmaceuticals based on molecular science using techniques including bioinformatics, genetics, imaging, and chemical technologies. NIBR is headquartered in Massachusetts and has a research site in New Jersey, as well as overseas sites in Switzerland, Austria, Japan, and the UK.
To keep its pipeline full of new drug candidates, Novartis conducts research and development efforts at locations around the globe (through the NIBR and other institutions). Gaining marketing approval for new drugs is increasingly important for global pharmaceutical firms as patents on former bestsellers expire and generic competition continues to grow. In addition to R&D efforts, the Novartis organization keeps its product offerings fresh (and competitive) through acquisitions and partnerships. To offset losses from patent expirations, as well as to balance growth expenses, Novartis also regularly conducts cost-cutting programs, including workforce reductions within its US pharmaceutical sales force in 2011.
Mergers & Acquisitions
The firm has expanded its operations in the US through a number of recent purchases; for instance, in 2011 the company completed its purchase of Alcon, a global maker of ophthalmic surgery systems, pharmaceuticals for optic disorders, and contact lenses with a strong presence in the US market. Novartis' existing US-based eye care unit, CIBA Vision, was merged into Alcon following the transaction.
Additionally, Novartis Pharmaceuticals expanded its US Molecular Diagnostic division's operations through the 2011 acquisition of laboratory services firm Genoptix. In 2012, Novartis also expanded the US operations of the Sandoz division through the purchase of dermatology medicines maker Fougera Pharmaceuticals; Fougera's New York location became the headquarters for Sandoz's generic dermatology operations.