Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) Escapes Lawsuit Regarding Multiple Sclerosis Drug

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Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) shares moved up 0.37% in pre trading session on Thursday as a federal court dismissed a whistleblower complaint alleging Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) of paying bribes to physicians at “fake” speaker programs in order to increase prescriptions of its blockbuster multiple sclerosis medicine Gilenya. Former Novartis sales employee Steven Camburn did not give enough detail to substantiate his assertions, according to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. Camburn’s lawyer says he and his client want to appeal the judgment and are convinced it will be overturned, according to Reuters.

Gilenya was the company’s third-best-selling medicine in 2021, earning $2.8 billion globally out of total sales of $51.6 billion. Camburn filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against Novartis in 2013, alleging that Novartis paid doctors up to $3,500 to engage as speakers at ostensibly educational speaker events in order to convince them to prescribe and promote Gilenya. Novartis agreed to pay $729 million in 2020 to resolve similar whistleblower allegations involving its speaker program and diabetes and cardiovascular medications.

Novartis (NVS) Investing in Early-Stage Biologics Research

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) is investing in next-generation biotherapeutics to build a fully integrated, $300 million dedicated fund to improve its capacity and skills for biologics early technical development.

The multi-year investment will be deployed across current Novartis facilities in Switzerland, Slovenia, and Austria, and will include drug substance and drug product development. The global head for biologics at Novartis’ technical research division, Jonathan Novak said “The science of developing biologics is increasingly sophisticated, and we are excited to meet its challenges head-on.”

The infrastructure and expertise are being put in place to aid the company’s developing biotherapeutics pipeline, which includes antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, and therapeutic proteins. Novartis will distribute its investments between three existing locations in Europe: A biologics centre will be established at the Novartis St. Johann facility in Basel with a $100 million investment. A biocampus in Menge, Slovenia, will cost $110 million to boost clinical production and technological development. The Schaftenau facility in Austria will be expanded and upgraded for $60 million.

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