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About Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Although it's based in neutral Switzerland, Novartis has been aggressive in attacking illnesses on multiple fronts, including pharmaceuticals and vaccines. One of the world's largest pharmaceuticals, the company develops, manufactures, and markets branded and generic prescription drugs, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), biosimilars, and ophthalmic products. The company's Innovative Medicines segment develops and manufactures prescription drugs for blood pressure, cancer, and other ailments. Its Sandoz segment is among the largest manufacturers of generic drugs in the world; it also makes APIs. Novartis has divested its vaccines and consumer health (Excedrin, Theraflu, and other products) divisions.


Novartis' Innovative Medicines segment is divided into two businesses: Novartis Oncology and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. They research, develop, manufacture, distribute, and sell patented prescription medications in such categories as oncology, cardio-metabolic, immunology and dermatology, retina, respiratory, and neuroscience. The segment is also engaged in the development and commercialization of cell and gene therapies. Innovative Medicines brings in about 80% of the company's total revenue.

The Sandoz division is divided into three franchises: Retail Generics, Anti-Infectives, and Biopharmaceuticals. They develop, manufacture, distribute, and sell prescription medicines, antibiotics, biosimilars, and APIs. Sandoz brings in about 20% of the company's revenue.

Novartis has about 25 blockbuster medications, or drugs that bring in more than $1 billion in revenue annually. Its top sellers include multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya, psoriasis and arthritis drug Cosentyx, ophthalmology drug Lucentis, and leukemia drug Tasigna.

Geographic Reach

Novartis is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. The company sells its products in about 150 countries around the world. Its largest single market is the US, which brings in about 35% of total revenue. Other major markets include Japan, Germany, and France. Emerging markets bring in around 25% of net sales.

Sales and Marketing

Novartis' Innovative Medicines segment utilizes about 25,000 field force representatives including supervisors and administrative staff. Prescription medicines are sold to wholesale and retail distributors, hospitals, clinics, managed health care providers, and government entities. In the US, it markets its products through online, television, radio, and magazine advertising.

Sandoz sells its generics to wholesalers, pharmacies, hospitals, and other health care outlets.

Financial Performance

Novartis' net sales from continuing operations rose 6% or $2.7 billion to $47.5 billion in 2019.

The company's net income in 2019 declined by 7% to $11.7 billion.

Novartis' cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2019 totaled $11.1 billion. Operating activities generated $13.6 billion while investing activities used $2.2 billion mainly for property, plant and equipment. Financing activities used another $13.6 billion mainly for dividends and treasury share acquisitions.


As part of Novartis' strategy, from time to time it acquires and divests products or entire businesses, and enters into strategic alliances and collaborations. For example, it previously announced plans to divest the Sandoz US dermatology business and US oral solids portfolio, and it recently completed the spin-off of its Alcon Division, the acquisition of the assets associated with Xiidra, and the acquisition of The Medicines Company. Novartis' alliances and acquisitions are a significant source of its growth.

In addition, as part of the company's strategy, from time to time it reassesses the optimal organization of its business, such as its ongoing efforts to centralize and optimize manufacturing and business services organizations.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Novartis is in an extremely acquisitive period in its history, signing numerous billion-dollar deals.

In 2020 it agreed to acquire Medicines Co., the maker of inclisiran, an experimental treatment for bad cholesterol.

Also in 2019, Novartis acquired existing partner CellforCure, a French contract development and manufacturing organization. Prior to the acquisition, Novartis had been using CellforCure's services to produce CAR-T therapies, including its recently approved Kymriah. The deal underscores Novartis' growing focus on gene therapies. And prior to that Novartis acquired IFM Tre, a subsidiary of Boston-based IFM Therapeutics, for $310 initially with scope for $1.3 billion in add-ons. IFM Tre owns a portfolio of three experimental anti-inflammatory drugs and the purchase will broaden Novartis' successful immunology business.

Company Background

Novartis traces its roots back more than 250 years, when Johann Geigy began selling spices and natural dyes in Basel, Switzerland, in 1758. A century later the Geigy family began producing synthetic dyes. About that time Alexander Clavel also entered the synthetic dye trade in Basel, forming the Gesellschaft fur Chemische Industrie Basel (Ciba). Ciba was Switzerland's #1 chemical firm at century's end. Sandoz, a synthetic dye maker, was founded in 1886.

After WWI, Ciba, Geigy, and Sandoz formed the Basel AG cartel to compete with German rival I.G. Farben. Basel used its profits to diversify into pharmaceuticals and other chemicals and to gain a foothold in the US. Basel AG voluntarily dissolved itself back into its component parts in 1951.

Ciba and Geigy merged in 1970, and Sandoz joined the group to form Novartis in 1996.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

1 Health Plz
East Hanover, NJ 07936-1016
Phone: 1 (862) 778-8300

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) American: James Bradner
Evp Us Oncology: Bill Hinshaw
Pres: Marie-france Tschudin
Employees (This Location): 4,600
Employees (All Locations): 7,000

Major Office Locations

East Hanover, NJ

Other Locations

Vacaville, CA
Miami, FL
East Hanover, NJ
Morris Plains, NJ
New York, NY
Portland, OR
Mechanicsburg, PA
Fort Worth, TX