Novartis AG has dropped about a fifth of its research projects as the drugmaker narrows its focus on the most cutting-edge medicines.
The pharmaceutical giant has reduced its drug programs to 340 from 430 after completing a review of its portfolio, Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, said in an interview. Among the resea-rch projects it’s no longer pursuing are medicines for infectious diseases.
“The sadness about these 90 projects is there’s some great science there,” Bradner said. “These are not bad ideas. Many of them have momentum, but they either are not likely to be transformative for patients, or are ill-suited to the focused business ambitions of Novartis.”
The decisions are a sign of Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan’s effort to make the Swiss drugmaker more competitive as development costs climb and big pharma’s returns on investments decline. They also come amid broader scrutiny of the industry’s pipelines. Drugmakers including GlaxoSmithKline Plc have pruned their portfolios in a bid to boost efficiency and deliver medicines that significantly improve patients’ health.