by Martina Fuchs
GENEVA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis expects China to become its second largest market globally by 2024, the head of Novartis China has told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"In the next five years, we are planning to introduce 50 new drugs to the market, that's drugs and indications. We believe that China will be our second largest market within Novartis by 2024," Dan Brindle, president of Novartis Group (China), said via video call.
"Currently, China is one of our most strategic markets globally. It ranks third within our global revenue. Last year, we were among the fastest-growing companies in China. We had a 19 percent growth which was really very strong," he added.
With more than 36 years of history in China, Novartis has primarily focused on providing innovative medicines to the Chinese market, Brindle said.
Novartis has obtained nearly 90 new drug approvals in China since 1987 and employs over 8,000 people in the country.
The company has two major manufacturing facilities in Beijing and Guangdong, together with research and development sites in Beijing, Shanghai and Jiangsu. The headquarters of Novartis in China is situated in Shanghai.
"Even this year with the challenges of COVID we continue to do pretty well and navigate a lot of challenges in the market," the executive said.
In the first quarter the company had a 16 percent growth and even with the pandemic control measures in Shanghai it achieved a 5 percent growth in the second quarter.
"I feel pretty good about where we are. We had eight new drug approvals and indications last year. I'm very optimistic about where we are in China and where we're heading. China is already the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world," said Brindle.
Based in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis is one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies. It has about 108,000 employees worldwide and its products reach nearly 800 million people.
Talking about business outlook in China, Brindle said that there are still a lot of business opportunities and untapped potential.
"Based on the demographics and everything else, there's still a lot of unmet need in different parts of the country. That's really across a range of therapeutic areas, whether it's cancer, cardiovascular, and so many others. We are committed to bringing our portfolio forward faster for the Chinese people," he said.
"From a policy perspective, China is very open-minded. I think one of the most open-minded governments that I've encountered anywhere in the world. They may not always agree with our opinion, but they will certainly take it into consideration," Brindle said.
"I feel really bullish about the prospects of the innovative pharmaceutical industry in the country," he said. ■