Sector News

Novartis, GSK shake up executive ranks as overhaul continues

October 8, 2014
Life sciences
Six months after announcing a series of deals aimed at refocusing its R&D efforts, Novartis is starting to provide some glimpses of what the new company will look like–and who will and will not be leading it. 
Novartis confirmed today that in the first half of next year, it expects to close the three transactions it announced on April 22–the sale of its animal health unit to Eli Lilly for $5.4 billion, the sale of most of its vaccines to GlaxoSmithKline for $7.1 billion and the formation of a joint venture with GSK to market over-the-counter products. In a press release, the company said that George Gunn, the division head of Novartis Animal Health, will retire upon the closing of the Lilly deal, and Andrin Oswald, who helmed Novartis Vaccines, will be leaving “to pursue other opportunities.” 
One top exec is staying: Brian McNamara, division head for Novartis OTC, who will become head of the Americas and Europe for the newly formed joint venture, called GSK Consumer Healthcare. Simultaneous to McNamara’s appointment, GSK filed a notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange announcing that the company was promoting one of its senior executives in India, Zubair Ahmed, to head up the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions for the new OTC division, according to The Financial Express. 
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez has long confessed to being a big fan of consumer health products, and the JV with Glaxo is designed to maintain the company’s presence in that industry while at the same time freeing up resources to concentrate on more profitable endeavors, such as developing cancer drugs. Novartis contributed $3.5 billion in assets to the new consumer joint venture, while Glaxo put in $6.5 billion. GSK has a 63.5% stake in the JV, leaving it with managerial control. 
The folks charged with managing GSK Consumer Healthcare have some big brands to back them up in a competitive market, including Excedrin, Panadol and Theraflu. But that doesn’t mean consumer health will continue to be a walk in the park for GSK. In July, GSK CEO Andrew Witty–who has embarked on a slimming-down campaign for his company much like Jimenez has done at Novartis–acknowledged that spinning off the consumer health division may ultimately be the best path forward.
As for Novartis, it’s continuing its bid to bulk up in oncology as it pulls away from vaccines and other slower-growing endeavors. Earlier this week, Novartis said it is designing new studies of two of its experimental cancer drugs and its newly approved ALK inhibitor Zykadia, all of which will be tested in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s PD-1 drug Opdivo (nivolumab). And over the summer, Novartis’ personalized CAR-T cancer therapy development program won the FDA’s coveted “breakthrough” designation. 

By Arlene Weintraub

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

June 8, 2024

Lilly CFO leaves to join Alphabet

Life sciences

Anat Ashkenazi will leave Eli Lilly’s executive suite at the end of July to become CFO and senior vice president of Google and Alphabet. Ashkenazi has been CFO at Lilly since 2021 and originally joined the company in 2001. Over her 23-year career at the Indianapolis-based drugmaker, Ashkenazi also served as controller, CFO of Lilly Research Laboratories and as the finance chief for several global divisions within the company.

June 8, 2024

Edwards Lifesciences to cell Critical Care to BD

Life sciences

Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Critical Care product group to BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.2 billion. With this agreement, Edwards is no longer pursuing the previously announced spin-off of Critical Care.

June 8, 2024

Danaher names Martin Stumpe as chief data and AI officer

Life sciences

The company, which owns diagnostics and life sciences businesses including Beckman Coulter and Cepheid, said the appointment reflects its increasing investment in AI as “a driving force for innovation and productivity.” Danaher is focused on AI by also spending on its internal capabilities and partnering with academic groups.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach