Head of Novartis moves to new position at J&J

SOMERVILLE, N.J. Alex Gorsky, former leader of Novartis’ pharmaceuticals operations in the United States, has accepted a position at Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit beginning on Feb. 22.

According to published reports, Gorsky had worked for J&J for more than 15 years in the pharmaceutical business before accepting a position with Novartis in 2004. The Ethicon unit of J&J manufactures surgical sutures, meshes and wound dressings, and is based in Somerville, N.J.

Speculations about Gorsky’s departure were fueled by the decline of sales by Novartis; the company’s U.S. pharmaceutical sales fell 8 percent last year to $8.7 billion, and resulted in 1,126 job cuts. Ethicone, however, is experiencing an increase of 11 percent in sales with an estimated 9,000 employees working for the company.

The successor at Swiss drug maker Novartis has yet to be announced.

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