Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Novartis is a global leader in healthcare and
is committed to improving health and well-being through innovative
products and services. As a pioneer of research into emerging
technologies, Novartis supports science and innovation, investing
more than £1.5 billion annually world-wide.
This memorandum addresses the following areas
as discussed in the DTI White Paper, "Excellence and Opportunity",
and outlines the ongoing contribution of Novartis in these areas:
(I) Active promotion of public confidence
in science to improve public acceptability of new technologies.
(II) The ongoing development of new and innovative
(III) Considerable capital and non-capital
investment in science.
(IV) Willingness for public/private sector
partnership to advance scientific understanding.
(V) Importance of maintaining a positive
research environment in the UK.
Genuine public debate is crucial to the acceptability
of new scientific developments. There is continuing need therefore
to find appropriate forms of dialogue that will help bridge the
gap between scientists and the public. Novartis believes that
it is the responsibility of scientists, research establishments,
governments and NGOs, as well as companies like Novartis, to promote
public confidence in science and innovation.
Channels of Communication
Consumer confidence in science invariably depends
on how well the public understands science and, in particular,
newer technologies that are unfamiliar and for which the implications
are unclear. Novartis is committed to open communication about
their business, addressing the risks involved in the use of modern
science as openly as the benefits (see examples in "Novartis
Response to the Science & Technology Committee's Inquiry into
the 1993 White Paper "Realising our Potential"). The
quality of an informed public debate can be improved by involving
key groups in this process.
The media play a very crucial role in informing
the public, setting the agenda and building public perceptions
about science. The exchange of information between scientists
and the media is crucial to ensuring constructive dissemination
of information to the public ultimately. Novartis brings together
scientists and the media to improve this exchange and continues
to develop productive relationships with both groups.
The Internet has an important role to play in
the dissemination of information to the public. Novartis encourages
and supports academic institutions in publicising their websites,
making them more user-friendly and aimed at improving public understanding
As part of the company's commitment to the use
of the Internet as an innovative way of teaching science, Novartis
hosted a live "Science Webcast" of two scientific experiments
transmitted into school classrooms in 2000.
Scientists have an important role to play in
explaining science to the public in a way that will improve public
understanding of science.
Together with the Institute of Biology, Novartis
has provided a number of scientists with media training. This
training allows scientists the opportunity to rehearse effective
communication of science through modern media such as television
and radio, in a way the public will understand.
Novartis also supports the British Association
in a variety of activities and "Scientists for the New Century",
a monthly lecture series presented by the Royal Institution and
The Times newspaper. The lecture series aims to bring Britian's
emerging scientists to the attention of the general public and
every month in 2000, a speaker delivered a lecture about the cutting
edge science being undertaken currently in Britain. In order to
give younger scientists opportunity to shine, all of the lecturers
are under 40 years. In 2001, this lecture series will continue
and eight scientists will be chosen to speak on the basis of academic
excellence and their ability to communicate.
Another Royal Institution activity Novartis
supports is a medical lecture series at the Royal Institution
where the public are invited to question doctors and scientists
about the latest developments in life threatening conditions.
The Novartis Foundation
Dialogue among scientists is essential to advance
scientific learning. "The Novartis Foundation" with
premises based in London, is a forum where scientists from all
over the world can exchange their knowledge and ideas. Every year,
the Foundation organises numerous scientific symposia, which are
subsequently published in book form.
Support of Charities/Patient Organisations
Charitable organisations and in particular,
patient support groups, play an important role involving patients
in the delivery of effective healthcare. By communicating reliable
information that patients understand, support groups empower patients
to take responsibility for their health. Novartis supports a number
of charities including the Parkinson's Disease Society and the
National Kidney Foundation.
3. NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Novartis' core businesses are in pharmaceuticals,
consumer health, generics, eye-care and animal health. Novartis
invests over £1.7 billion globally each year in research
and development (R&D). We are one of the leading companies
in the world for investment in R&D.
Developments in Biotechnology and Genomics
Modern biotechnology, and especially gene technology,
is indispensable to modern biomedical research. Its application
can be used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
The use of gene technology has already led to progress in treating
cancer. Novartis is looking at using biotechnology, in collaboration
with outside partners to gain insights into the processes of viruses,
bacteria and cells, to understand the causes of specific human
diseases and their possible genetic links and to help introduce
specific genes or knock out existing genes to correct certain
We are committed to three key principles in
our use of biotechnology: it must be safe, it must bring benefits
and it must be used in a responsible manner.
March 2000 saw the launch of a new anti-epileptic
drug from Novartis in the UK. It represents the first anti-epileptic
drug approved for first-line use in the past five years and offers
hope to newly diagnosed patients and those who cannot achieve
satisfactory control with current treatments. It is more convenient
for patients to use and simpler than current treatments.
Planned soon are new treatments for diabetes,
irritable bowel syndrome and eczema for which regulatory approval
is currently awaited. A new asthma treatment is also due to be
introduced this year.
Joint R&D partnerships with third parties,
individuals and universities are also important to progress in
the development of pharmaceuticals. Collaboration between Novartis
and the Royal Free Hospital contributed to the development of
Simulect, an important drug to assist in successful organ transplantation.
Developments in Consumer Health
Novartis Consumer Health is a world leader in
the fast-changing consumer health market, and focuses on over-the-counter
(OTC) medicines, medical nutrition and health and functional nutrition.
As well as projects in nutrition, a new programme
has been established to help discover and develop proprietary
and novel ingredients, which has found promising leads in the
therapeutic areas of pain/inflammation, immune systems, cardiovascular
and lifestyle management.
Innovations in Eye Care
Through innovations and quality in contact lenses,
lens care products, ophthalmic pharmaceuticals and ophthalmic
surgery, CIBA Vision, a Novartis company, has pioneered many advances
in eye care. Products are sold to consumers and eye care professionals
in the UK.
Visudyne therapy, the first effective treatment
for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), was recently launched
in the UK. This is a new treatment that helps prevent the most
frequent cause of blindness amongst people over the age of 50.
Novartis research provides CIBA Vision with
new chemical entities for future products, new applications for
existing designs and access to the latest developments in biotechnology.
These resources are complemented by licensing agreements and joint
R&D partnerships with third parties, individuals and universities.
Working with Novartis Pharmaceuticals, CIBA
Vision is exploring anti-angiogenesis to treat diabetic retinopathy
and neuroprotectors to treat optic nerve diseases such as glaucoma.
Phase III clinical trials for Rescula, a new glaucoma treatment
are also under way in the US. In addition, an artificial cornea
and an accommodating lens with the potential to delay the onset
of presbyopia are in development.
In the UK alone, Novartis is spending £1
million every week on pharmaceutical research.
Novartis has a current capital investment programme
of £100 million to develop key research and manufacturing
facilities around the country, including London and Grimsby.
Novartis is establishing a £40 million
world-class centre for respiratory research in Horsham, West Sussex
which will be one of the largest single-site research groups in
the world dedicated to this therapeutic area. The centre will
also host international pre-clinical and clinical operations for
other therapeutic research areas. Each major step of the pharmaceutical
product development process is undertaken at Horsham, from compound
discovery and research right through to manufacturing.
The investment in new, state of the art facilities
attracts international scientists to employment in the UK.
Public/private sector partnership is an important
part of maintaining the excellence of the Science Base in the
UK. These external relationships widen the sector's scientific
and technological capabilities as well as improve access to new
discoveries. Drug discovery, for example, nowadays requires the
involvement of a wide range of disciplines. To complement Novartis'
own in-house efforts the company is establishing links with groups
that have particular expertise in platform technologiesareas
of expertise that provide the basic scientific input into drug
discoverysuch as genomics, combinatorial chemistry and
Novartis supports emphasis in the guidance for
the next RAE (Research Assessment Exercise), in 2001, that basic
and strategic research done in confidence for business should
be given equal weight alongside papers published in peer review
Collaboration with Academic Institutions
It is important to encourage the ablest people
to engage in science in Britain. Novartis makes a considerable
investment in collaborative industrial studentships organised
through research councils including the Medical Research Council
(MRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Novartis collaborates with a number of institutions
in the UK to research respiratory disease and also supports "Link
Awards" where together with research councils, the company
provides funding for broader research at universities across the
Collaboration with the NHS
Novartis supports hospital research teams by
meeting the salary requirements of research posts in major centres
Collaboration in clinical research is increasingly
difficult in the face of significant overhead charges and slow
approval processes with MREC forcing Novartis to seek liaison
with other countries.
Three key environmental factors influence the
suitability of the UK as a research base;
The UK has traditionally cultivated a prosperous
science based through investment in science education. It is important
to maintain this pool of labour to retain pharmaceutical company
activity in the UK.
Stable Regulatory Policies
Improved timeliness, ethical approval processes
and start up times for trials is vital to maintain a strong research
Freedom of Threat from Anti-science/Animal Activists
Delays in approval for animal research and attacks
on research establishments are reducing the viability of the UK
as a research base. This situation must be improved.