Novartis Receives US Patent and Trademark Office 2015 ‘Patents for Humanity’ Award

Apr 14, 2015 10:00 AM ET

BASEL, Switzerland, April 14, 2015 /3BL Media/ – Novartis is a recipient of the 2015 Patents for Humanity award from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in recognition of the company’s efforts to accelerate development of new treatments for tuberculosis. 

In August 2014, Novartis signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) for compounds to fight tuberculosis (TB) discovered at the Novartis Institutes for Tropical Diseases (NITD). Included is a novel class of drugs discovered by Novartis researchers called indolcarboxamides that are active against drug sensitive and multidrug-resistant strains of TB.  Novartis has not asked for any upfront payment or milestone payments from the TB Alliance, but is granting exclusive worldwide license in the field of TB to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize products.

Novartis is one of seven recipients of the award, launched in 2012 as part of a US government initiative to promote the development of solutions to long-standing development challenges in the areas of medicine, nutrition, sanitation, household energy and living standards. 

“Novartis has supported the “Patents for Humanity” program its inception, because it represents yet another way to creatively put the patent system to work to incentivize innovation for the benefit of society,” said Felix Ehrat, General Counsel Novartis. “By licensing our most promising tuberculosis-fighting compounds to the TB Alliance, we believe we have contributed to the development of a novel treatment for drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis.”

Tuberculosis is a global pandemic, killing more adults worldwide than any infectious disease other than HIV/AIDS.  It is among the three leading causes of death of women aged 15-44 and the leading infectious cause of death of people with HIV/AIDS. According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 8.6 million cases of tuberculosis each year, with more than 1.3 million deaths reported annually. TB is a global disease, but has its deadliest impact in resource-poor countries.

Myobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, spreads from person-to-person through the air and typically attacks the lungs. In many cases, tuberculosis can be treated and cured, but people infected with tuberculosis can die if they do not get proper treatment. M.tb has a unique structure that allows it to remain dormant for many years. The body’s immune system may restrain the disease, but it does not destroy it. 

Preclinical studies have shown that indolcarboxamides, the novel class of drugs provided to the TB Alliance by Novartis, are uniquely able to combat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Indolcarboxamides also show promise of being compatible with existing tuberculosis drugs, and may lead to better-tolerated treatment regimens that require shorter administrations and have fewer drug-drug interactions so as to work with HIV therapies.

As a company, Novartis continues to actively participate in the global fight against TB. The Novartis generics business Sandoz represents 25% of the TB medicine supply to the World Health Organization, providing medicines that reach 500,000 patients with TB per year. Sandoz also works with patient communities to improve prevention, detection and treatment.

Further, finding new treatments for neglected diseases is a key part of the Novartis corporate responsibility strategy, and the company maintains its efforts in discovery of medicines specifically for the developing world. Current research focuses on new therapies for treating parasitic diseases such as malaria and human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, as well as viral diseases such as dengue fever.



This press release contains expressed or implied forward-looking statements, including statements that can be identified by terminology such as “promising,” “potential,” “efforts,” “will,” “continued,” “can,” “promise,” “may,” “continues,” “strategy,” “maintains,” or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Group regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such statements. These expectations could be affected by, among other things, risks and factors referred to in the Risk Factors section of Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update it in the future.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2014, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). As of December 31, 2014 Novartis Group companies employed approximately 133,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

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