Novartis announces broad range of initiatives to respond to COVID-19 Pandemic; Creates USD 20 million global fund to support impacted communities

  • Novartis COVID-19 Response Fund will provide grants of up to USD 1 million to support communities around the world most impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak
  • Novartis to join collaborative R&D efforts with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard -supported COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator and a partnership with the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
  • Commitments build on Sandoz pledge to maintain price stability of essential medicines and strong support of patients and healthcare systems
  • Company continues to maintain strong focus on protecting employee health, ensuring supply of medicines for patients and smooth clinical trial operations

Basel, March 17, 2020- Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, said: "We are dealing with an extraordinary and unprecedented public health crisis that requires an incredible level of involvement and collaboration across government, society and business. As a medicines company present in over 140 countries, we are stepping in to provide additional financial support to critical community or national programs that can help address urgent public health needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the power of working together as an industry, we are also bringing the talent and capabilities of our industry-leading R&D organization to two leading and important collaborative R&D initiatives."

Novartis today announced a broad set of measures to support the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures include the creation of a global fund to support communities around the world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the company's decision to join two key cross-industry R&D initiatives.

The Novartis COVID-19 Response Fund will provide USD 20 million in grants to support public health initiatives designed to help communities manage challenges posed by the pandemic. The company has established an accelerated global review process that will allow for quick approval and disbursement of individual grants of up to USD 1 million. The fund is open to grant applications that will be processed through Novartis affiliates in the countries. The fund will seek to provide financial grants for initiatives focused on but not limited to the following areas:

  • Strengthening local and national healthcare infrastructure including funding of additional medical personnel, sourcing of medicines and medical equipment
  • Establishing digital platforms for COVID-19 related data collection, remote delivery of healthcare and effective dissemination of important public health information
  • Creating new or enhancing new community health programs specific to the pandemic response

Research & Development Collaborations
Novartis has also entered new collaborative research efforts such as the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, coordinated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard, as well as a COVID-19 directed partnership organized by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).  Both are cross-sector collaborations that bring several pharmaceutical companies and expert academic institutions into coordinated research programs, with the aim of bringing the most promising molecules forward quickly without organizational barriers. Additionally, in response to an urgent call for research and development on coronavirus, issued by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), Novartis is contributing by making available several compounds from its libraries that are considered suitable for in vitro antiviral testing. In addition, the company is rapidly evaluating other existing products to see if any could be utilized beyond their approved indications in response to the pandemic.

Supporting Patients, Healthcare Providers and Systems
Earlier this month, Sandoz, the company's generics and biosimilars division was the first company to commit to keeping prices stable for a basket of essential medicines that may help in the treatment of coronavirus cases, specifically antivirals to reduce the impact of coronavirus and antibiotics to combat pneumonia.

Furthermore, Novartis has been monitoring the global pandemic situation closely. The company's primary concern has been the health and safety of associates and patients globally. Novartis continues to deliver its medicines to patients and healthcare providers around the world and does not anticipate supply chain disruption at this time given strong mitigation measures and inventory levels. The company has also activated mitigation plans to ensure ongoing drug supply and smooth operations for its over 500 clinical studies. As part of its efforts to protect employee health, effective Monday, March 16 2020, all Novartis associates within Europe, US and Canada are requested to work from home, with the exception of those working in laboratories, manufacturing sites and in the field. The company has also stepped up the utilization of digital engagement tools to support internal collaboration as well as outreach to healthcare professionals and customers.

Disclaimer

This media update contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as "potential," "can," "will," "plan," "may," "could," "would," "expect," "anticipate," "seek," "look forward," "believe," "committed," "investigational," "pipeline," "launch," or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals, new indications or labeling for the investigational or approved products described in this media update, or regarding potential future revenues from such products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that the investigational or approved products described in this media update will be submitted or approved for sale or for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding such products could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures and requirements for increased pricing transparency; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; general political and economic conditions; safety, quality, data integrity or manufacturing issues; potential or actual data security and data privacy breaches, or disruptions of our information technology systems, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this media update as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this media update as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people's lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world's top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 145 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at https://www.novartis.com

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at https://twitter.com/novartisnews
For Novartis multimedia content, please visit https://www.novartis.com/news/media-library
For questions about the site or required registration, please contact media.relations@novartis.com

# # #

Novartis Media Relations
E-mail: media.relations@novartis.com

Peter Zuest
Novartis External Communications
+41 79 899 98 12 (mobile)
peter.zuest@novartis.com

Eric Althoff
Novartis US External Communications
+1 646 438 4335 (mobile)
eric.althoff@novartis.com

Peter Zuest Novartis External Communications +41 79 899 98 12 (mobile)

peter.zuest@novartis.com

Eric Althoff
Novartis US External Communications
+1 646 438 4335 (mobile)
eric.althoff@novartis.com

Novartis Investor Relations
Central investor relations line: +41 61 324 7944
E-mail: investor.relations@novartis.com

Central North America
Samir Shah +41 61 324 7944 Sloan Simpson +1 862 778 5052
Pierre-Michel Bringer
Thomas Hungerbuehler 
Isabella Zinck
+41 61 324 1065
+41 61 324 8425
+41 61 324 7188
Cory Twining +1 862 778 3258
Central
North America
Samir Shah
+41 61 324 7944
Sloan Simpson
+1 862 778 5052
Pierre-Michel Bringer Thomas Hungerbuehler  Isabella Zinck

 

+41 61 324 1065 +41 61 324 8425 +41 61 324 7188

 

Cory Twining
+1 862 778 3258

To read more Press Release articles, click here.