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Novartis restructures, names new executive committee

Novartis will integrate the pharmaceuticals and oncology business units and create two separate commercial organizations with a stronger geographic focus — Innovative Medicines U.S. and Innovative Medicines International.

Novartis is shaking up its organizational structure and operating model. The company said the changes are being made to support its innovation, growth and productivity ambitions as a focused medicines company in the coming decade.

“The simpler organizational model we are unveiling today is central to our growth strategy as it will make us more agile and competitive, enhance patient and customer orientation, unlock significant potential in our R&D pipeline, and drive value creation through operational efficiencies,” CEO Vas Narasimhan said. “With our portfolio of in-market medicines and up to 20 major pipeline assets that could be approved by 2026, Novartis is in a strong position to deliver above-peer-median sales and margin growth in the mid- and long-term.”

Novartis said that it will integrate the pharmaceuticals and oncology business units and create two separate commercial organizations with a stronger geographic focus — Innovative Medicines U.S. and Innovative Medicines International. The two units will have full P&L responsibility across all therapeutic areas and ownership of customer experience, marketing and sales, and market access for their respective markets. The elevation and establishment of an independent U.S. commercial organization strengthens Novartis’s ability to achieve its goal of becoming a top-five company in the United States in terms of sales while maintaining and growing its leadership position internationally, Novartis said.

[Read more: Novartis launches strategic review of its Sandoz generics drug unit

The new model also will help Novartis bring increased focus and commitment to its core therapeutic areas of cardiovascular, hematology, solid tumors, immunology and neuroscience.

Marie-France Tschudin, currently president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, will become president of Innovative Medicines International and chief commercial officer. In her capacity as chief commercial officer, Tschudin will oversee global marketing, medical affairs, and value and access across all therapeutic areas. Victor Bulto, currently head of U.S. pharmaceuticals, will become president of Innovative Medicines U.S. They will both report to Narasimhan effective immediately.

Novartis also said that it will create a new strategy and growth function, combining corporate strategy, R&D portfolio strategy and business development. This function will help drive the company’s growth strategy end to end and will look across internal and external opportunities to strengthen Novartis’s pipeline with medicines that are both transformational and can make significant contributions to growth. It will be led by a chief strategy and growth officer who will become a member of the ECN and report to the CEO. The search is currently underway for this new leader, and in the interim the function will be led by Lutz Hegemann, president of global health.

[Read more: Novartis' Sandoz generics unit attracts interest]

Novartis also will combine its technical operations and customer and technology solutions units to create a new operations unit. This new unit will provide a stronger and simpler operational backbone that can accelerate multiple technology transformation initiatives more efficiently, create novel digital solutions at scale and increase productivity while maintaining industry-leading quality and service levels, according to the company. Effective immediately, Steffen Lang, currently global head of Novartis technical operations, will become president of operations reporting to Narasimhan. In addition, all G&A functions — finance, people and organization, ethics, risk and compliance, legal, and communications and engagement — will be integrated on global and country levels.

Novartis has appointed Shreeram Aradhye, president of global drug development and chief medical officer effective May 16. Aradhye, who is returning to Novartis, was most recently executive vice president and chief medical officer at Dicerna Therapeutics, where he led the development of multiple clinical stage RNAi assets.  Previously, he was chief development officer at Axcella Health.

Aradhye has dedicated his entire professional career to improving patient lives, first as an academic clinician and then as a drug developer and business leader, Novartis said. He brings significant experience in global clinical development of innovative medicines across several therapeutic areas and has played a key leadership role in the development of multiple innovative therapeutics. During his 20-year tenure at Novartis, he held several global leadership roles, including as development head for the company’s neuroscience franchise and global head of medical affairs for the pharmaceuticals business unit. Aradhye will report to Narasimhan and join the ECN. With the changes in organizational structure and operating model, John Tsai has decided to pursue opportunities outside Novartis effective May 15.

“I would like to extend my deep gratitude to Susanne, Robert and John for their invaluable contributions to the company. Susanne has been an inspiring and dedicated leader at the company for 25 years, and she has played a pivotal role in strengthening our global oncology business. Over the last four years, Robert has led a successful transformation of our business services and technology operations, and helped create a strong customer and technology solutions unit,” Narasimhan said.

“Since taking over as head of GDD in May 2018, John has played a key leadership role in advancing our mid-stage pipeline and delivering 18 major drug approvals to patients around the world. I wish them the very best in their future endeavors. I would like to congratulate Marie-France, Shreeram, Steffen and Victor on their new roles, and extend a warm welcome back to Shreeram. I look forward to working closely with them as we embark on this new phase of our journey to reimagine medicine together,” he said.

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