Novartis: A Front Running Drugmaker Contributing to Covid-19 Pandemic

IndustryWired has listed some of Novartis’ partnership and new product launches during the pandemic



Novartis is a global healthcare and pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland. Novartis provides solutions to address the evolving needs of patients worldwide. The company was created in 1996 after the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. Novartis and its predecessors trace roots way back to over 250 years in developing innovative healthcare products. Initially, a synthetic fabric dye maker, Novartis later branched out into producing chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Ever since the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has shown big interest in participating and rolling out new products to support the vaccination and treatment drive. Novartis is also contributing to research efforts, supporting communities, and ensuring a stable supply and price of essential medicines. In this article, we’ll take you through Novartis’ partnership and new product launches during the pandemic.


Novartis’ support to the global medical society during the pandemic

Novartis is helping to support the global supply of vaccines and therapeutics. By opening up its production facility and signing partnership agreements with front-running vaccine makers and healthcare providers, the company is supporting the vaccine demand around the world. Novartis conferred its part in the scientific efforts to find treatments for Covid-19. Currently, the company is making fifteen drugs that treat key symptoms of Covid-19 available to low and middle-income countries at zero profit. Novartis also donated US$40 million to support communities around the world impacted by the pandemic. We have summarized some of the remarkable moves by the company.

The Swiss drugmaker, Novartis, in April 2021 signed a deal with Roche to make ingredients for its Actemra treatment that was being repurposed for people with Covid-19. Actemra is a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis which is also being tested in various clinical trials to treat Covid-19 associated pneumonia. By signing the agreement, Novartis will make the active pharmaceutical ingredients for the drug at its Singapore site.

In March 2021, Novartis has signed an agreement with CureVac to manufacture the mRNA and bulk drug products for CureVac’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV. The agreement covers a set of supportive concepts including initiating production, technology transfer, and test runs. Novartis also accepted to produce the needed products at its novel high-tech facility, which is under construction in Novartis Kundl, Austria. The company also announced in the same month that ensovibep, a new class of custom-built protein drug that is made with Molecular Partners, a clinical-stage biotech company will be included in a global phase 3 randomized, controlled clinical trial as part of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Accelerating Covid-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) program.

One of the significant moves that Novartis made is the initiative to support Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine production. Pfizer-BioNTech is one of the most trusted vaccines with fewer side effects. Besides, it is also a major vaccine distributor in the United States, United Kingdom, European Union countries, etc. Recently, in February 2021, Novartis signed an initial agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech to support the production of its vaccine by leveraging its manufacturing capacity and capabilities to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the agreement, Pfizer-BioNTech will use its aseptic manufacturing facilities at its sites in Stein, Switzerland for the purpose.


Novartis’ market state 

In the first quarter of 2021, Novartis’ net income fell 4%, missing analyst expectations, as Codi-19 related lockdowns and disruptions around the globe hit demand. The company’s core net income slipped to US$3.4 billion, compared to the US$3.5 billion average estimates by analysts.