Paul Hudson to be new head of pharma divison, Bruno Strigini will be oncology chief

Following its $20 billion asset swap with GlaxoSmithKline last year, Novartis is to split its pharmaceutical division in two, creating two business units, with the former single business unit’s head and CEO, David Epstein, deciding to leave the company.

The two new units will be Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Oncology, and will together make the Innovative Medicines Division.

The changes allow Novartis to focus on development of the cancer drugs such as Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) it acquired from GSK, as well as its other oncology medicines. It will also allow the company to focus on the branded drugs in the Novartis Pharmaceuticals division.

From July 1, Novartis will still have three customer-facing divisions – Innovative Medicines including the two newly created units, Sandoz, the generics and biosimilar division, and eye care devices division Alcon.

Effective July 1, Paul Hudson will be appointed CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Bruno Strigini will become CEO of Novartis Oncology. Both will join the executive committee of Novartis.

Hudson will join from AstraZeneca, where he is executive vice president, North America and member of the executive committee.

Strigini, who joined from Merck & Co in 2014, is currently head of Novartis oncology and will lead the Novartis Oncology business unit, which will also include cell and gene therapies as well as cancer drugs.

The company gave no details about Epstein’s plans, but Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez noted his contribution in leading the development and commercialisation of products such as cancer drug Glivec (imatinib), multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya (fingolimod), psoriasis drug Cosentyx (secukinumab) and heart drug Entresto (sacubitril+valsartan).

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