General contact

Head Office
Novartis International AG
CH-4002 Basel

+41 61 324 11 11
+41 61 324 80 01
Monday - Friday,
8:30 - 17:00, GMT+1
(Central European Time)


Novartis International AG
Investor Relations
P.O. Box
CH-4002 Basel

+41 61 324 79 44


Global Oncology Media Relations
Denise Brashear
Novartis Oncology Global Public Relations

+1 862 778 7336

Novartis Media Relations
Eric Althoff
Basel, Switzerland

+41 61 324 7999

pane 4 content

This site is not intended for U.S. residents.

Research Approach

Rational drug design

Rational drug design is a focused strategy for drug development that is grounded on a solid foundation in the basic sciences, driven by the rigor of laboratory research and proven clinically.

Drug discovery technology

At Novartis Oncology, we are a leader in driving the practice of precision oncology treatment. Precision oncology is the evolving understanding of how cancers develop on a genomic level and our ability to develop drugs that hone in on those targets – ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

Our research is driven by a distinctive scientific and clinical strategy, focusing on unmet medical needs and disease pathways. We deliver increasingly precise cancer treatments to patients by:

  • Identifying the pathways most commonly associated with cancer
  • Screening compounds to identify ones with greatest potential to impact pathway
  • Identifying biomarkers and creating diagnostic tools
  • Targeting patients most likely to benefit from therapy

State-of-the-art technology is used to identify the best compounds to hit specific molecular targets accurately and effectively. When a natural compound is not readily found, synthetic molecules that mimic the natural ligands of receptors can be engineered from the understanding of the underlying mechanisms gleaned from previous research.

Functional genomics

Working from the roadmap of life—the human genome—researchers have gained an understanding of the complete genetic makeup of human cells, which has provided a new resource for current drug design. The challenge of functional genomics is to understand the function of each gene and its interaction with each of the nearly 30,000 others in the genome.

Tools are now available to facilitate microexperiments that can answer complex questions about each gene in the genome simultaneously. For example, a single experiment can identify the genes that are expressed at high levels in lung tumors, but not in healthy lung tissues.

This type of research can be used to identify molecular targets and compounds, to genetically profile tumors or patients, and in the future, to guide and customize therapeutic choices.

Translational medicine

Novartis Oncology uses the lessons learned in the laboratory to deliver clinical benefits. Additionally, observations made in clinical settings help to refocus or innovate basic research hypotheses. Active basic and clinical research programs ensure that optimal cancer treatments will be developed as rapidly as possible.

William R. Sellers, MD
"As we continue to research the details behind small molecules, we can attack genetic abnormalities more efficiently and aggressively."
—William R. Sellers, MD
Vice President and Global Head of NIBR Oncology Research