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Novartis CEO Sees Big Potential In Biosimilars

ZURICH -(Dow Jones)- Novartis AG (NVS) Chief Executive Joe Jimenez said Tuesday he sees potential in the market for biosimilars, cheaper versions of expensive and complex medicines made from biological matter. "This is a market that is relatively small today, but we expect that by 2020 this could be a 15 to 20 billion dollars segment of the generics business," Jimenez told analysts in a call. "Novartis is uniquely positioned in biosimilars because we have the scientific and medical expertise of a pharmaceutical company and the commercial expertise of a generics company," he said. Novartis has its own generics unit, Sandoz. Biosimilars are imitations of biotech drugs, ones that are basically interchangeable with a previously approved biologic but because of the inherent complexity of the products cannot be termed identical. -By Marta Falconi, Dow Jones Newswires; +41 43 443 8043; marta.falconi@dowjones.com

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