Novartis shareholders vote in favour of Sandoz spin-off

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Novartis shareholders on Friday voted in favour of spinning off the Swiss company’s generic-drugs business Sandoz, with investors holding 99.7% of the represented capital supporting the complete separation.

Ahead of the vote at the extraordinary general meeting, Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor said the new company is eyeing the launch of at least five additional biologic drugs over the longer term.

In a bid to enhance Sandoz’s investor appeal ahead of its market debut on Oct. 4, Saynor said his ambition was to improve the development pipeline of currently 25 biosimilars, which are cheaper versions of off-patent biologic drugs made from modified living cells.

“When I joined (in 2019), there were less than eight biologics in the pipeline. Today, there’s 25. And that journey will continue. I’ll be happier when it’s over 30,” Saynor told Reuters in an interview.

Sandoz is currently the world’s second-largest maker of biosimilars behind Pfizer. Saynor said dethroning the U.S. pharma giant, whose focus is on developing new drugs rather than copying others, is “very much” his goal.

(Reporting by Ludwig BurgerEditing by Miranda Murray)

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