Novartis ends Amgen partnership, slashes jobs

June 16, 2021

Novartis will halt its rocky commercialization partnership with Amgen for the migraine treatment, Aimovig, laying off employees that have been working on the drug.

Aimovig, which was co-marketed in the U.S. by Amgen and Novartis, was the first FDA approved treatment indicated to prevent migraine in adults by targeting the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor. The treatment won FDA approval in 2018, but has since fallen short of the partners' blockbuster expectations.

Less than a year after Aimovig was approved, the Amgen-Novartis partnership went sour. The drugmakers accused each other of violating two collaboration agreements made in 2015 and 2017 to work together globally on the treatment. Amgen claimed Novartis breached the agreements because one of its affiliated companies was working on a competing product during the entire collaboration. Novartis claimed Amgen wrongfully attempted to back out of the agreements — and that they are trying to cut Novartis out following Aimovig's successful U.S. launch.

Now, it seems the deal is off. As reported by Fierce Pharma, Novartis is passing all U.S. sales, marketing and medical support functions for Aimovig back to Amgen. With the restructuring, Novartis will lay off the 186 employees who had been supporting the drug. The layoffs, effective in September, will happen at Novartis' U.S. headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey.

Novartis will still collect royalties and pay commercialization costs, while retaining commercialization rights for  Aimovig outside the U.S. and Japan.

Read the WARN notice.