When Joseph Jimenez joined Novartis, in 2007, the company was facing a big challenge: Its blockbuster drug Diovan, which accounted for more than 20% of the pharmaceutical division's revenue, would lose its U.S. patent in 2012. His senior executives had some ideas for offsetting the loss-about 100 of them. From that list they chose three on which to focus: (1) The division invested significantly in testing Afinitor (a treatment for renal cell carcinoma that was nearly ready for market) in breast cancer. (2) It set up Novartis China Commercial University to screen, hire, and train several hundred salespeople for rapid expansion in high-growth markets. (3) It began to transition to an outcomes-based approach to selling medicine by offering to screen patients for responsiveness to new drugs before they're prescribed. Five years later, Jimenez writes, those efforts are beginning to pay off: Revenue is expected to remain stable even as Diovan gives way to generics.
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