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HomeminewsNovartis Ophthalmology Sell-off Denied

Novartis Ophthalmology Sell-off Denied

Novartis has denied rumours of plans to sell its respiratory and ophthalmology concerns.

At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on 9 January 2023, Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said Novartis has “no intention” of doing so at the moment, refuting a recent Bloomberg report that the company is considering selling its ophthalmology and respiratory units.

Describing Novartis, “in its next form as a pure-play innovative medicines company”, he confirmed the company’s commitment to ophthalmology brands

Describing Novartis, “in its next form as a pure-play innovative medicines company”, he confirmed the company’s commitment to ophthalmology brands, which include popular anti-VEGF drugs Lucentis and Beovu, as well as Roche-partnered gene therapy Luxturna.1

This news dovetails with the announcement, in December 2022, of Novartis’ intention to complete the acquisition of Gyroscope Therapeutics. Gyroscope is a UK-based ocular gene therapy company that has developed GT005 for the treatment of GA secondary to AMD, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial and two Phase 2 clinical trials.2

Geographic atrophy (GA) is an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that leads to progressive and irreversible vision loss1. There are no approved treatments for GA, making it one of the most significant unmet needs remaining in retinal diseases. Gyroscope has several other assets in its pipeline in early discovery for retinal diseases.2

At that time Marie-France Tschudin, President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, highlighted Novartis’ well-established expertise in ocular gene therapies and said, “This acquisition is one more step forward in our commitment to delivering innovation in ophthalmology to treat and prevent blindness worldwide.”2

In his address at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Mr Narasimhan described the company’s strategy to build depth in five core therapeutic areas (hematology, solid tumors, immunology, neuroscience and cardiovascular), and
we continue a long-term effort to shift towards advanced technology platforms. He said advanced technology platforms, including gene and cell therapies currently constitute around 27% of Novartis sales and the company has “an aspiration with biologics and these technology platforms to be well over 50% of our sales by the end of the decade”.3

1. ophthalmologybreakingnews.com/novartis-ceo-refutes-rumors-for-ophthalmology-unit-sell-off-?utm_source=google&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=obnsite
2. seekingalpha.com/article/4568801-novartis-ag-nvs-41st-annual-j-p-morgan-healthcare-conference-transcript
3. www.novartis.com/news/media-releases/novartis-acquire-gyroscope-therapeutics-adding-one-time-gene-therapy-could-transform-care-geographic-atrophy-leading-cause-blindness