Novartis to cut US jobs on Rasilez Ph III failure and Diovan patent loss

Related tags Hypertension Pharmacology

Novartis to cut US jobs on Rasilez Ph III failure and Diovan  patent loss
Swiss drug major Novartis has announced plans to cut US jobs and predicts a challenging couple of years for its pharma division.

The firm said that the move – which will see its field force reduced by approximately 1,630 positions – is designed to strengthen its competitive position ahead of the September 2012 loss of its Diovan patent in the US.

Novartis also cited the decision to halt a Phase III trial – named ALTITUDE - of the hypertension drug, Rasilez (Tekturna in the US) as a factor in the job cuts.

A reassessment of the future sales potential of Rasilez in light of the ALTITUDE results has led to an exceptional charge of approximately $900m to be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2011. The charge comprises impairments to intangible and manufacturing assets and excess inventory together with trial wind down and other exit costs​.”

The cuts are the first at Novartis since it reduced its headcount by around 2,000 positions last October.

"We recognize that the next two years will be challenging in the Pharmaceuticals Division and we are proactively making these changes to further focus our pipeline on the best opportunities and align our market position on our growth brands​," said David Epstein, Division Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

"These are difficult but necessary decisions that will free up resources to invest in the future of our business which we view as well suited to bring new valuable therapies to patients and payors.

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