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Novartis Changing Drug Business

July 10, 2000

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) _ Swiss group Novartis said Monday it is reorganizing its pharmaceuticals business into three units in a move designed to boost growth.

The change, which will take effect Sept. 1, is aimed at making each area more flexible and better focused, chief executive Daniel Vasella said.

Novartis said the pharmaceuticals business will divide into Primary Care, to concentrate on introducing ``new, potential blockbuster brands,″ Specialty Businesses _ covering oncology, transplantation and ophthalmics _ and Mature Products, ``optimizing the market value of older products.″

``Acquisitions are possible,″ Vasella added. ``In fact, I’m expecting the heads of the units to come up with creative ideas, including to boost external growth, be that through buying products or small companies.″

Novartis also announced it will set up a ``BioVenture Fund,″ initially to be endowed with $50 million, which Vasella said is to play ``a key role in identifying cutting-edge innovation projects.″

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