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28/09/2007, 2007, 1.13 PM CET  

Novartis and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in new partnership aimed at transforming pharmaceutical manufacturing


  • Novartis and MIT launches a 10-year partnership aimed at changing pharmaceutical production
  • Center combines industrial expertise of Novartis with MIT's recognized position as a global leader in scientific and technological innovation
  • Novartis to invest USD 65 million in MIT research to develop new technologies for continuous manufacturing, from chemical synthesis to final product
 
Basel, Switzerland, September 28, 2007 - Novartis and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have launched a long-term research collaboration aimed at transforming the way pharmaceuticals are produced.
 
The 10-year partnership, known as the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing, will work to develop new technologies that could replace the conventional batch-based system in the pharmaceuticals industry - which often includes many interruptions and work at separate sites - with continuous manufacturing processes from start to finish.
 
The Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing combines the industrial expertise of Novartis with MIT's leadership in scientific and technological innovation. Novartis will invest USD 65 million in research activities at MIT over the next 10 years.
 
"This partnership demonstrates our commitment to lead not only in discovering innovative treatments for patients but also in improving manufacturing processes, which are critical to ensuring a high-quality, efficient and reliable supply of medicines to patients. Our collaboration with MIT, a worldwide leader in developing cutting edge technologies, holds the promise to achieve a quantum leap in the production of pharmaceuticals, a field which has received rather little attention in the past," said Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis.
 
Novartis and MIT expect the technologies created in this collaboration will benefit patients and healthcare providers through a positive impact on supply availability and the quality of medicines. These technologies will also seek to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing activities.
 
"The Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize drug development and production," said Susan Hockfield, MIT President. "We are delighted to collaborate with Novartis to help improve the way that drugs are manufactured so that patients have quicker and more reliable access to the medications they need.  The new educational opportunities that this program will provide for our students make this partnership even more exciting."
 
The pharmaceutical industry currently uses batch-based manufacturing that has been common for several years, even though other industries have moved to continuous manufacturing.
 
In this often time-consuming process, pharmaceutical active ingredients are synthesized in a chemical manufacturing plant. These ingredients are then shipped to a manufacturing facility, often at another site, where they are converted through defined processes into giant batches of pills, liquid or cream. With multiple interruptions, including transport to separate locations, each batch may take weeks to produce. In addition, manufacturing design and scale-up for a new drug are very costly and time-consuming.
 
Expected benefits of continuous manufacturing include accelerating the introduction of new drugs by designing production processes earlier; using smaller production facilities, with lower building and capital costs; minimizing waste, energy consumption and raw material use; monitoring quality assurance on a continuous basis instead of post-production batch-based testing; and enhancing process reliability and flexibility to respond to market needs.
 
The initial research of the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing will be conducted primarily through Ph.D. programs at MIT laboratories, and then transferred to Novartis for further development to industrial-scale projects.
 
The partners expect the Center's work to involve seven to ten MIT faculty members, as well as students, postdoctoral fellows and staff scientists. Novartis will commit its manufacturing and R&D resources and will pilot new manufacturing processes with one of its pharmaceutical products. 
 
 
Disclaimer
The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as "will," "could," "potential," "expect," "may," or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding the Novartis-MIT research collaboration or potential future revenues or discoveries resulting from, or in connection with, such research collaboration. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of Novartis regarding future events, and involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results with the Novartis-MIT research collaboration to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that discoveries, inventions, or any such technologies developed by the Novartis-MIT research collaboration will be approved for operation, or applied in, in any market. Nor can there be any guarantee that discoveries, inventions or any such technologies will result in achieving any particular levels of revenue in the future or will be operationalized throughout the pharmaceutical industry. In particular, management's expectations regarding the Novartis-MIT research collaboration could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; unexpected research results, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
 
 
About Novartis
Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease suffering and enhance the quality of life. We are strengthening our medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics, human vaccines and leading self-medication OTC brands. Novartis is the only company with leadership positions in these areas. In 2006, the Group's businesses achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion. Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ more than 100,000 associates and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
 
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