PHARMACY

Novartis divests influenza vaccines business for $275 million

BY Michael Johnsen

BASEL, Switzerland — Novartis on Sunday announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to divest its influenza vaccines business to CSL for an agreed price of $275 million. This transaction requires regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second half of 2015.
 
CSL has more than 40 years of experience in the influenza vaccines business and operates in 27 countries with more than 13,000 employees worldwide. In addition to vaccines, CSL has established businesses in plasma-driven therapies, pharmaceuticals, antivenoms and immunohemotology. The Novartis influenza vaccines unit will be combined with CSL's subsidiary, bioCSL.
 
"In CSL, we have found not only an owner for the influenza business that shares our commitment to protecting public health, but also a strong growth platform for the business and our associates," stated Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis.
 
The Novartis influenza vaccines business has a strong track record of delivering almost 1 billion doses of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines globally over the last 30 years. The company was the first and only manufacturer with the flexibility of two production technologies — egg-based vaccines for seasonal, pandemic and pre-pandemic, and cell-culture-based vaccines for antibiotic-free production with the potential for rapid scale-up to protect against pandemic threats. The business also benefits from access to a proprietary adjuvant platform and leadership in pandemic preparedness.
 
Novartis remains fully committed to the influenza business during the transition period to closing, including honoring agreements with customers, research and development for influenza vaccines, and product launches.
 
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PHARMACY

Onco360 names new chief executive

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Onco360, one of the nation’s largest independent providers of oncology pharmacy services, on Monday announced that Paul Jardina was named president and CEO.
 
“We are confident that Paul is the right leader to take Onco360 forward," said Greg Weishar, CEO of PharMerica, a signficant investor in Onco360. "His deep experience in healthcare and oncology make him the ideal CEO for Onco360. We are confident that, under his leadership, Onco360 will continue to fulfill its mission of transforming oncology pharmacy, now and in the future.”
 
Jardina has more than 20 years of healthcare industry experience as an executive in oncology and physician services. Most recently he served as president and CEO of U.S. Physiatry, a physician services company focused on physical medicine and rehabilitation in the post-acute continuum. Jardina has served in various leadership positions for U.S. Oncology (now McKesson Specialty Health), leading key business lines including oncology specialty pharmacy, drug distribution and radiation and imaging. In his role at U.S. Oncology, Jardina was instrumental in the development and growth of the company’s pharmaceutical service lines and its transition to an open market provider of oncology pharmaceutical services.
 
Burt Zweigenhaft will continue to serve as the company’s vice chairman and chief strategy officer. In this capacity, Zweigenhaft will focus on key strategic initiatives and business development to further support the company’s growth strategy.
 
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PHARMACY

Penn Foster partners with Walgreens on pharmacy technician externship program

BY Michael Johnsen

 

SCRANTON, Pa. — Penn Foster on Tuesday announced a new partnership with Walgreens to improve its U.S. Pharmacy Technician Program. Graduates of the U.S. Penn Foster Pharmacy Technician Program will now be required to complete an externship through partners, including Walgreens, to be better prepared for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and employment in the field. 
 
Through this new requirement, Penn Foster students receive in-person instruction in pharmacy technician training at their pharmacy placement.
 
This announcement is in line with National Pharmacy Technician Day, a day dedicated to celebrating pharmacy technician professionals in this fast-growing, in-demand field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the pharmacy technician field is expected to grow 32% faster than average from 2012 to 2022, and offers many different job opportunities and work schedules that fit various lifestyles. It is ranked 36th on the U.S. News and World Report's list of Best Healthcare Jobs and 83rd on U.S. News and World Report's list of 100 Best Jobs.
 
"We are proud to partner with Walgreens and other national retail pharmacy brands in our mission to align education and hands-on training with the needs of employers," stated Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster. "The improvements to our Pharmacy Technician Program are the latest in a series of changes Penn Foster has made to help our students become more competitive and successful in their chosen career fields."
 
In addition to a mandatory externship with its partners, Penn Foster has revised its U.S. Pharmacy Technician program to better prepare graduates for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and will now cover the cost of the exam for its graduates.  

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