Novartis CEO vowing to back ambitious $8B R&D strategy

While Pfizer goes about the business of dramatically reducing its R&D budget, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez says he isn't about to go down that path. Instead, says the CEO, he intends to snip away at costs in other parts of the company specifically so Novartis ($NVS) can continue to spend about $8 billion a year on R&D. And he is betting his career that Novartis can buck the restructuring trend by maintaining a high ratio of pipeline winners.

Breaking it down for the Wall Street Journal, Jimenez says that Novartis historically has delivered one new drug for every six preclinical programs it begins. That compares very favorably with the industry standard of one in 23. And the CEO proudly points to a pipeline of 147 compounds, which includes the potential COPD blockbuster QVA149.

"Our approach is to go after areas of high unmet medical need, irrespective of the market size," Jimenez says. As a practical matter, that means going after pivotal data on a rare disease before expanding the label to include major market diseases like cancer.

- here's the WSJ article