Skip to main content
| News

CEO of Novartis pinning hopes on malaria drug

30.03.2020

In the fight against the coronavirus, Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, is above all pinning his hopes on a malaria drug. Narasimhan has claimed in an interview that this drug has proven in preclinical and initial clinical trials that it can destroy the virus. At the moment, patients are being enrolled for studies.

Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis (img: Novartis)

In the opinion of Vas Narasimhan, the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic may have reached its peak in Spain and Italy, but will spread further in the USA. Now it is time to prepare for the next wave. The CEO of Basel-based Novartis is above all pinning his hopes on hydroxychloroquin, a drug used to treat malaria, which the company are focusing their work on.

“Preclinical trials in animals as well as initial data from clinical trials have shown that it destroys the coronavirus”, Narasimhan states in an interview with SonntagsZeitung. “We are working together with Swiss hospitals to check potential treatment protocols for clinical application, but it’s too early to offer anything definitive in this regard yet”, he adds. At the moment, the first patients are being recruited for enrolment in studies. Moreover, Novartis is in dialog with the regulatory authorities in Switzerland and the USA in order to obtain authorization by way of summary proceedings.

Novartis has at its disposal the raw material for 130 million doses. Export bans in India could, however, be an obstacle to production, Narasimhan explains. “Our plant in Stein AG would be the worst hit by export bans, as it currently procures raw materials on a global basis”. The pharma industry is reliant on the free flow of goods, with no country fully self-sufficient in this regard.

Together with 15 pharmaceutical firms from around the world in total, Novartis has committed its expertise to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. To this end, the group of pharma firms are to open up their proprietary libraries of molecular compounds to in the joint search for candidates to combat the virus.

Share this article

Sign up to receive our newsletter in your inbox.

You might also be interested in

Space Pharmaceuticals establishes presence in Basel
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Innovation, Invest, Life Sciences / biotech

Space Pharmaceuticals establishes presence in Basel

Space Pharmaceuticals AG is strengthening the life sciences cluster in the Basel Area. At its research lab, the cheminformatics company...

Read More
NextImmune to benefit from Venture Kick financing
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Innovation, Life Sciences / biotech

NextImmune to benefit from Venture Kick financing

The startup accelerator Venture Kick is supporting NextImmune with financing in the amount of 150,000 Swiss francs. The spin-off from...

Read More
OECD impressed by the canton of Jura’s innovation system
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Innovation, Medtech, Switzerland Innovation Park

OECD impressed by the canton of Jura’s innovation system

The OECD has examined the innovation systems in place in rural areas of its member states, including the canton of...

Read More
ti&m opens branch in Basel
Basel Area Business & Innovation, ICT, Innovation, Invest

ti&m opens branch in Basel

ti&m now has an office in Basel. With this action, the company specializing in digitization, security and innovation projects is...

Read More
What can artificial intelligence do for health?
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Digital Health, Innovation, Life Sciences / biotech, Medtech

What can artificial intelligence do for health?

Algorithms help diagnose and treat diseases, discover new drugs and personalize prevention. Thus, the potential of artificial intelligence has been...

Read More
Economic promotion agency creates 55 new jobs in Jura
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Innovation, Invest, Switzerland Innovation Park

Economic promotion agency creates 55 new jobs in Jura

The economic promotion agency of the canton of Jura supported a total of 26 companies in founding, establishing a presence...

Read More
Investors top up capital of BioVersys
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Innovation, Invest, Life Sciences / biotech

Investors top up capital of BioVersys

BioVersys has raised 24.2 million Swiss francs in a series C funding round. The Basel-based pharmaceutical company plans to use...

Read More
Swiss made software label awarded to 1000th company
Basel Area Business & Innovation, ICT, Innovation

Swiss made software label awarded to 1000th company

Swiss made software GmbH has now awarded its seal of quality to its 1,000th member firm. The “swiss made software”...

Read More
EvokAI to acquire Advancience
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Digital Health, Innovation, Invest, Medtech

EvokAI to acquire Advancience

EvokAI Creative Labs Inc. has agreed a deal to acquire Advancience. The diagnosis profiles enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed...

Read More
BeiGene opens European headquarters in Basel
Basel Area Business & Innovation, Innovation, Invest, Life Sciences / biotech

BeiGene opens European headquarters in Basel

BeiGene has opened its new European headquarters in Basel. The global biotech specializing in innovative cancer treatments intends to build...

Read More
1 2 3 34

Do you have a question? We'd like to hear from you.