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Novartis is a healthcare and pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland, incorporated in 1996.

Novartis products include oncology medicines, generic and biosimilar medicines and eye care devices. The Innovative Medicine segment of the company is divided into Novartis Oncology and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Novartis Pharmaceuticals consists of global business franchises in ophthalmology, neuroscience, immunology and dermatology, respiratory, cardio-metabolic and established medicines.

Novartis Oncology

Novartis Oncology is focused on the development and manufacturing of medicines directed towards improving and extending people's lives.


Sandoz is a division of Novartis that manufactures, distributes and sells prescription medicines and pharmaceutical active substances that are not patent protected and is franchised into Retail generics, Anti-Infectives and Biopharmaceuticals.


Alcon is a division of Novartis in the eye car product field in eye care devices and vision care. Alcon’s surgical franchise includes technologies and devices for cataract, retinal, glaucoma and refractive surgery and intraocular lenses to treat cataracts and refractive errors. Alcon’s Vision Care franchise includes contact lenses and contact lens care products. Alcon’s surgical portfolio also includes equipment for performing cataract surgery.

Novartis Gene Therapies

Previously known as AveXis, Novartis Gene Therapies works to develop and commercialize gene therapies. They have a specific focus on neurological genetic diseases. Their initial gene therapy is for spinal muscular atrophy and has been approved in the United States, Japan, the European Union, and Brazil.

Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)

Part of their research and development program, the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) is working on developing informatics tools for drug discovery with a focus on open-sourced software.


Habitat is a software developed to be a self-contained object storage management system. Based on Amazon Web Services, Novartis says Habitat is capable of virtually unlimited storage and can be used as a local repository for a single application or shared and used with many clients.

Yet Another Data Abstraction (YADA)

Novartis says Yet Another Data Abstraction (YADA) is a data aggregation tool capable of accessing data sets at any data source in any format and from any environment with a single URL and a single configuration. YADA is intended to be a lightweight framework for data retrieval, searching, storage, and manipulation.


OntoBrowser is a web-based application for managing ontologies. Developed by Novartis, they say the tool is intended to provide an online collaborative solution for curators to map code list terms to preferred ontology terms. OntoBrowser also offers visualization of ontologies in hierarchical or graph format, advanced search capabilities, and web service access to data.


Railroadtracks is a Python package Novartis says is intended to handle connected computation steps for DNA and RNA sequencing.

Yet Another Pipeline (YAP)

Yet Another Pipeline (YAP) is an extensible parallel framework developed by Novartis and written in Python using OpenMPI libraries. The software is intended to help researchers build high throughput data pipelines without knowledge of parallel programming.


Developed by Novartis, the RDKit is a collection of cheminformatics and machine-learning softwre written in C++ and Python. The distribution includes a PostgreSQL-based cartridge allowing molecules to be stored in a relational database and allowing users to retrieve information via substructure and similarity searches.


GridVar is a JQuery plugin that visualized multi-dimensional datasets as layers organized in a row-column format. Novartis says the software is intended to allow users to visualize data as a background color and enables characteristics of a dataset to be layered on top of each other.

Nerve Live

Developed by Novartis to use big data and data analytics, Nerve Live is an advanced analytics platform is intended to be used as part of a drug discovery program. Novartis sees the platform as enabling machine learning and cognitive computing systems to extract information which traditional data analysts and users might miss.

The Nerve Live was developed by first building a data lake. This was followed by developing an analytics engine to process the data and derive assets from it. And the final stage of development of this program involved designing user modules that would make predictive analytic insights and offer these insights to add value in business decisions.

Novartis hopes to develop Nerve Live to offer features to help manage resources, including using predictive models to plan medical supplies for medical centers.

data42 Program

The data42 program is a digital research and development platform Novartis believes will help in drug discovery and drug testing while costing less. The program would include large pools of patient and pharmaceutical data and an artificial intelligence to assist researchers in their development. As of March 2020, the program was still in the initial phases of development.


Novartis, previously called Ciba-Geigy, was one of the few pharmaceutical companies involved in tyrosine kinase inhibitor research when it began a collaboration with oncologist Brian Druker which resulted in discovery of the kinase inhibitor drug Gleevec (also known as Glivec or imatinib). Gleevec was FDA approved in 2001 to treat patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Kinases perform phosphorylation, a mechanism that controls the activity of proteins in the cell. CML patients have a mutation causing their tyrosine kinase to be overactive, which signals cell to proliferate at a high rate, resulting in accumulation of immature white blood cells. Based on revenue, Gleevec was one of Novartis’s top ten pharmaceutical products in 2017.


Novartis Oncology drug Kisqali (ribociclib) in Phase III MONALEESA (Mammary Oncology Assessment of LEE011’s (Ribociclib’s) Efficacy and Safety) trials, was reported in December 2018 to demonstrate efficacy and tolerability in combination with endocrine therapy in advanced breast cancer patients with visceral involvement. Kisqali (ribociclib) is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that inhibits cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 (CDK4/6), proteins that when over active can promote cancer cell division and cancer growth. The drug is an orally available small molecule that acts by blocking phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein, which prevents cell-cycle progression. Kisqali is also in the NATALEE study, a Phase III clinical trial with endocrine therapy to treat early breast cancer.


March 23, 2021
Novartis' radioligand hits goal in phase 3 prostate cancer trial.
December 1, 2020
Novartis announces FDA approval of Xolair® (omalizumab) for adults with nasal polyps.

May 15, 2020
Novartis CEO says any new corona virus vaccine will take two years.
April 20, 2020
Novartis acquires Amblyotech, a startup that combines 3D glasses and video game software to treat amblyopia, more commonly known as "lazy eye".
November 24, 2019
Novartis entered into an agreement and plan of merger with The Medicines Company to acquire the US-based biopharmaceutical company for USD 85.00 per share in cash, valuing the company at approximately USD 9.7 billion on a fully diluted equity basis.
October 1, 2019
Novartis and Microsoft announce collaboration to transform medicine with artificial intelligence.

May 9, 2019
Novartis acquires Xiidra, expanding front-of-eye portfolio.
April 1, 2019
Novartis agrees to pay $310 million, with the possibility for more later, for some assets of Boston-based IFM Therapeutics.
April 9, 2018
Novartis acquires AveXis, a gene therapy company, for $8.7 billion.
February 14, 2018
Novartis raises a $6,500,000 grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Funding Rounds



Invested in


Further Resources


25 Years of Novartis - Continuing our innovation journey


March 2, 2021

Democratizing access to AI


November 18, 2021

Drug development gets big data analytics boost

Goran Mijuk


July 2, 2018

Novartis Financial Results Q1 2021


April 26, 2021

The data42 program shows Novartis' intent to go big on data and digital

Goran Mijuk


March 11, 2020


Kyle LaHucik
October 7, 2021
Joanne Chang departed Novartis after heading up worldwide medical affairs for ophthalmology for the past four years to be chief medical officer of Oculis. With a fresh set of eyes leading the medical affairs of the eye treatment biotech, Oculis will expand its presence in Hong Kong.
Kyle LaHucik
October 4, 2021
Just five months after debuting with a nanobody licensed from Merck KGaA, MoonLake Immunotherapeutics is headed to Wall Street. The Swiss biotech is linking arms with blank-check company Helix Acquisition in a SPAC deal that will give MoonLake $230 million in proceeds.
Annalee Armstrong
September 30, 2021
After a string of Big Pharmas reported failures for their BTK inhibitors in autoimmune disorders, Novartis finally appears to have a winner. The Swiss pharma reported that remibrutinib has succeeded in controlling the autoimmune condition chronic spontaneous urticaria, or CSU, which causes unpredictable hives and swelling that can be painful and itchy.
Kyle LaHucik
September 28, 2021
Already backed by Sanofi and Novartis' venture arms, Expansion Therapeutics now has another $80 million to bankroll preclinical studies in neurodegenerative diseases. The biotech aims to have the studies done in the coming three years in myotonic dystrophy type 1, ALS and frontotemporal dementia.
Kyle LaHucik
September 27, 2021
Anji Pharma will deploy its $70 million series B on a phase 3 type 2 diabetes asset that it acquired from Elcelyx Therapeutics in 2019 and a mid-stage constipation drug hopeful. Anji also acquired an oncology program from the Broad Institute earlier this year.


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