Report: Novartis to boost biosimilars portfolio

NEW YORK — Novartis is making big investments in biosimilars, CEO Joe Jimenez said in an interview with Fortune magazine.

Jimenez told Fortune that the Swiss drug maker — which markets generics and biosimilars through its Sandoz division — was investing heavily in biosimilars and difficult-to-make generics for such conditions as cancer and respiratory disorders.

Sandoz makes biosimilars for markets worldwide, and also was the first to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of Sanofi-Aventis’ blood thinner Lovenox (enoxaparin sodium); the FDA approved Lovenox as a pharmaceutical, but the drug’s chemical complexity means it has more in common with biotech drugs than with traditional pharmaceuticals.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became law last year, contained a provision that created a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars in the United States.

Jimenez also said that rather than focusing on creating blockbuster drugs for such conditions as hypertension, Novartis was focusing on creating drugs that disrupted disease pathways and could have multiple indications.

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