NovartisNovartis has signed an agreement to sell to Meda the global rights to manufacture, market and commercialize Elidel® (pimecrolimus) Cream 1%, a medicine to treat mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. This agreement reflects Novartis strategy to focus commercialization on new launch portfolio and core brands.

Upon closing, Novartis will receive an upfront payment of USD 420 million from Meda which will assume the global manufacturing of Elidel within three years after closing. The accounting gain is expected to be about USD 406 million - approximately USD 345 million to be recognized by the end of 2011 and the remainder in 2012 and 2013.

The agreement will be filed for review with the US and certain other antitrust authorities and, subject to certain closing conditions set forth in the agreement, the transaction is expected to close during the second quarter 2011.

Elidel was approved in the US in 2001 and in the European Union in 2002 as well as in many other countries. Depending on the country, Elidel is indicated as a second-line therapy for the short and long-term management of the signs and symptoms of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in adults and children two years of age and older.

About Novartis
Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2010, the Group's continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 50.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.1 billion (USD 8.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 119,000 full-time-equivalent associates (including 16,700 Alcon associates) and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.