Novartis: Diversified through Recent Takeovers, Substantiated with New Approval

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) announced this morning that its generics division, Sandoz, has completed takeover of private dermatology provider Fougera Pharmaceuticals in a $1.5B deal. Although markets already reflect the takeover action (it was originally announced in May), Novartis says it is now positioned to become the number one generic dermatology manufacturer worldwide. Sandoz accounted for 16% of Novartis’ revenue in 2011, $9.5 billion, while Fougera had revenues of $429 million in the same year. The deal is yet another in Novartis’ recent history to shore up the company after losing patent protection on Diovan and Gleevec. As part of the deal, the Federal Trade Commission forced Novartis to give up marketing rights to four skin care products in the U.S.After markets’ close on Friday, Novartis also received notification from the FDA that its breast cancer treatment Afinitor (everolimus) has been approved for use in the U.S. in combination with Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) Aromasin. Together, the two produced a 4.6-month progression-free survival in postmenopausal patients with advanced HER2-negative breast cancer that previously underwent treatment with Novartis’ Femara or AstraZeneca’s (NYSE:AZN) Arimidex. This is the fifth indication for Afinitor, already approved for use in renal cell carcinoma among others, but it is the first mTOR inhibitor for treating HR+ breast cancer approved in America. These advancements, along with its key acquisition of Alcon last year, point to long-term growth for Novartis, with strong positions in innovative treatment as well as generics.