PhD | Director Therapeutic Innovation and BaseLaunch
Tel. +41 61 295 50 17stephan. emmerth@baselarea. swiss
Basel-based pharmaceutical company Novartis has been recognised as the World’s Most Innovative Biotech Company in 2018 by U.S. media brand Fast Company. Novartis was honoured for its pioneering CAR-T cell therapy to fight cancer.
Fast Company divided its list of most innovative companies in 2018 into 36 categories. Novartis was chosen as the most innovative in the segment of Biotech, in recognition of its pioneering new treatment. In August 2017, Novartis received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA for Kymriah to be used for the treatment of children and young adults with leukaemia. This marked the first ever approval for a therapy based on gene transfer in the USA. Getting any new drug to market is a moonshot, but the approval of Kymriah was more like landing on Mars, Fast Company remarks on its choice.
In the treatment, a patient’s own T cells are reprogrammed and then injected back into the blood, where they bind to cancer cells and destroy them. “We’re entering a new frontier in medical innovation with the ability to reprogram a patient’s own cells to attack a deadly cancer,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in a press release at the time. It described this approval as a “historic action”. Novartis is now working on further application possibilities for the treatment.
The ranking is compiled by editors and reporters at Fast Company. Novartis is followed by OneOme and GE Healthcare, which are from the USA and the UK, respectively. The top ten also includes another Swiss company with Sophia Genetics which is based in Saint-Sulpice in the canton of Vaud. In the overall ranking of the World's Most Innovative Companies, Novartis was placed at 21. Apple is top of the list, pipping Netflix to the post.