The Company continues its commitment to sustained investment in R&D to develop targeted therapies that could change the practice of medicine and deliver the highest benefit for patients. This is particularly evident in the Company's approach to emerging markets, which represent an important and growing sector for Novartis innovation and clinical development. For example, in Hyderabad, India, Novartis has built a world-class clinical development center with more than 1,000 local associates.
Novartis is a leader in emerging markets with 10% of Group net sales coming from the top six emerging markets in 2011. This is supported by selective investments in innovation, infrastructure and people to expand Novartis presence in China, Brazil, Russia and India as well as other targeted emerging market countries.
"Accelerating growth in emerging markets is complementing our strength in Europe and North America, and is key to delivering our long term vision for the company," said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. "Close working relationships with local healthcare providers improves patient care and access in developed and emerging markets. We hope to see these BioCamp students lead us into a future where patients all over the world receive optimal care."
Since launching BioCamp in 2004, Novartis has introduced more than 500 top graduate students to the life sciences industry and entrepreneurship. This year the students will hear from Rolf M. Zinkernagel, M.D., a Nobel Prize Laureate and member of the Novartis AG Board of Directors, and Prof. Susan Gasser, Director of Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, among others. The BioCamp students also interact with Novartis scientists and executives who lead the Company's approach to drug development and learn about breakthrough new medicines to address patients' unmet medical needs. The program is designed to help students understand trends and challenges in the biotechnology and life science sectors as well as gain first-hand experience about starting and running a biotech company. BioCamp has helped bridge into local communities and build connections to aid future collaborations in research and clinical development.
"In order to better respond to increasing prevalence of diseases, we are strengthening leadership and global effectiveness through targeted expansion of clinical development in emerging markets. Our approach is seeing results in countries like China, South Africa, Russia and South Korea among others," noted Patrice Matchaba, M.D., Executive Vice President, Global Head of Development Operations, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and speaker at this year's BioCamp.
Novartis strives to ensure that patients can benefit from new medicines as quickly as possible by increasing the speed of development, expanding clinical trials to include new markets, and uniting with academia and governments on new technologies. Endeavoring to lead in healthcare innovation, Novartis fosters a blend of corporate citizenship and entrepreneurship to deliver for patients in emerging markets and around the world.
In the first half of 2012, net sales in our Emerging Growth Markets - which include all markets except the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan - grew 6% (in constant currencies) contributing 24% to Novartis Group net sales. Underpinning our strategy is a deep commitment to innovation, growth and productivity across our diversified portfolio.
First started nine years ago in Taiwan, BioCamp has developed into an international forum for science and business students from around the world to learn, exchange ideas and work together in a highly competitive business environment. Previously hosted in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Cambridge, Massachusetts, today's seminar marks the third time International BioCamp is hosted at the state-of-the-art Novartis global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.
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, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2011, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.6 billion (USD 9.2 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 126,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.