Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez has outlined the firm's determination to be the major force in biosimilars.

Speaking as the Swiss major posted its financials for the second quarter (see link), Mr Jimenez (pictured) highlighted the advancement of its biosimilars pipeline. He noted that Novartis' Sandoz unit is running seven Phase III studies across five biosimilar molecules, "more than any other company has in our industry".

Chief among these studies, he said, is a major late-stage trial of the company's biosimilar of Amgen's Enbrel (etanercept), which is approved for several indications, notably the treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis. However the Sandoz trial will evaluate its biosimilar initially as a treatment for moderate to severe chronic plaque-type psoriasis, which observers believe may represent a smoother pathway for regulatory approval, before pursuing all approved indications .

Aside from biosimilars, Mr Jimenez noted that during the second quarter, Novartis' pharmaceuticals division got three product approvals including the green light in the USA for Ilaris (canakinumab) for systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and Simbrinza (brinzolamide/brimonidine) for glaucoma. He said that "we have had more [European and US approvals] than any of our competitors in the last five years".