Novartis 'using technologies to cut cost of drugs'

Novartis 'using technologies to cut cost of drugs'

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis is hoping to cut research costs by introducing new technologies that will enable it to reduce its failure rate.

According to Tim Wright, global head of development at Novartis, these new methods will help researchers identify drugs that will not be successful, the Telegraph reports.

He said the average cost of bringing a single drug to market for Novartis is $4bn (£2.4bn), but up to $1 billion of this could be money wasted on investigating drugs which fail during development.

In order to reduce the costs of drug development, the company is currently testing sensors for the continuous monitoring of drugs' effects in trial patients, providing fuller data.

The company is also making use of 'continuous manufacturing', a process which allows drugs to be made in smaller quantities. Pilot trials are currently being conducted along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

However, Dr Wright said cutting-edge drugs will still require large amounts of investment and the price cuts are more likely be applied to "generic" drugs in the firm's portfolio - those whose patents have expired.

"Having a strong generics division being able to offer state-of-the-art molecules to patients at competitive prices provides a nice balance for us," he said.

"If you think about it from a societal view, it's when generics have the ability to treat a lot of common diseases and reduction of healthcare cost allows innovative drugs to remain with a premium."

Earlier this month, Novartis announced the submission of a Biologic License Application to the US Food and Drug Administration for marketing approval for the use of Bexsero.

Bexsero is designed to help protect against invasive meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B (meningitis B) in adolescents and young adults from ten to 25 years of age.

The vaccine has already been approved in 34 countries including Canada, Australia and members of the European Union. Over half a million doses of Bexsero have been distributed worldwide since the launch of the vaccine in 2013.