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Novartis hosts scientific symposium in Philippines to review research approaches, clinical management, and growing presence of Dengue

Corporate news announcement processed and transmitted by Hugin AS.
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this

* Currently no treatment for Dengue, yet global prevalence has
risen by 20 times since 1970 - increase from 5 to more than 100
countries with confirmed cases[1]

* One-third of the population currently lives at risk of Dengue
infection, and 653,000 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are
lost globally per year[1]

* WHO estimates that 50 million cases occur annually, resulting in
500,000 hospitalizations and 24,000 deaths, mainly among

Basel, September 1, 2009 - The Novartis Institute for Tropical
Diseases (NITD) is hosting a global symposium in the Philippines,
bringing world-renowned Dengue experts together to discuss critical
issues facing Dengue treatment and prevention. The four-day symposium
will focus on best research practices and clinical management, as
well as the growing global presence and unmet medical need to treat
this neglected disease.

"Dengue is a devastating disease that is impacting the lives of
millions globally, in the developing as well as the developed world"
says Paul Herrling, Head of Corporate Research at Novartis and
Chairman of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases. "Our
long-term commitment to helping reduce this global disease burden is
part of Novartis' Corporate Citizenship efforts to improve access to
medicines. By leveraging our experience, partnerships, and modern
drug discovery tools, we hope to come closer to our goal of
discovering effective treatments for tropical diseases."

More than 50 million cases of Dengue and 500,000 Dengue-related
hospitalizations occur each year in both developed and developing
regions due to the under investment in research and development for
effective tools to detect and treat the disease[2]. Dengue is one of
the most prevalent emerging diseases in humans with no preventative
vaccines or antiviral cures available at present.

NITD Approach to Dengue Research
The Dengue research group at NITD focuses on developing Dengue
antiviral compounds, the idea being that administering antivirals in
particular areas at the first indication of an outbreak will be more
cost-effective than mass inoculations.

Goals for Dengue research at NITD include discovering medicines that
will reduce the viral load in people with dengue and curtail
transmission of the virus as well as reduce dengue-related morbidity
and mortality.

Importance of Partnership
The NITD takes a collaborative approach to research, as evidenced by
its membership in the Dengue consortium, which consists of six
healthcare and research companies that have joined forces to study
vector-borne diseases.

"Initiatives such as the Dengue consortium are paramount as they
create best-in-class partnerships to support and develop successful,
cost-effective treatments for neglected diseases," said Philippine
Department of Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III. "Partnerships
are an effective model for developing new drugs for important but
hitherto neglected diseases, allowing us to bring much needed,
effective and affordable treatments to those who need them most."

Challenges in Dengue
In 1970, only five countries in South East Asia reported Dengue. By
2007, Dengue was endemic in more than 100 countries[1]. Although
one-third of the world's population lives at risk of infection,
little is known about the pattern and dynamics of Dengue virus within
outbreak situations. Dengue illness appears similar to other febrile
illness in the early stages, which means diagnosis is often delayed
or confused with other illnesses. This reduces the effectiveness of
using clinical diagnosis for patient care and disease surveillance.

To combat this, the NITD is currently conducting several studies to
better understand, identify and use genomic data and the molecular
epidemiology of dengue to predict outbreaks and severity levels of
the disease. Additional surveillance studies could prove useful in
disease management, diagnosing dengue and predicting the likelihood
of hemorrhaging.

About NITD
Today's event is the first symposium held by Novartis on Dengue
fever. In 2008, Novartis held a symposium on Tuberculosis (TB) in
Maputo, Mozambique (the second symposium held by Novartis in East
Africa). In 2006, Novartis held a symposium on TB in St. Petersburg,
Russia, and in 2007 in Masan, Korea. The NITD hosts such events in
endemic regions to help scientists and partners understand the true
impact of the disease and the unique local challenges doctors,
clinicians and patients in the region face.

The NITD represents a major part of Novartis' bid to improve the
developing world's access to medicines. The NITD's overarching goal
is to discover novel treatments and prevention methods for major
tropical diseases. In those developing countries where these diseases
are endemic, the Novartis Group intends to make treatments readily
available without profit.

The focus of the NITD is to apply Novartis' drug-discovery expertise
and cutting-edge technology platforms to fight against infectious
diseases that are currently not well covered by modern treatment
regimens, particularly dengue fever and tuberculosis.

The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be
identified by terminology such as "will," "commitment," "hope,"
"goals," "predict," "could," "predicting," "intends," or similar
expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding the
potential of an anti-Dengue drug, or regarding potential future
revenues from such a drug. You should not place undue reliance on
these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the
current views of management regarding future events, and involve
known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may
cause actual results to be materially different from any future
results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such
statements. There can be no guarantee that an anti-Dengue drug will
be developed or approved for sale in any market. Nor can there be any
guarantee that such a drug will achieve any particular levels of
revenue in the future. In particular, management's expectations
regarding an anti-Dengue drug could be affected by, among other
things, unexpected research difficulties; unexpected clinical trial
results, including unexpected new clinical data and unexpected
additional analysis of existing clinical data; unexpected regulatory
actions or delays or government regulation generally; the company's
ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary
intellectual property protection; competition in general; government,
industry and general public pricing pressures; the impact that the
foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Novartis
Group's assets and liabilities as recorded in the Group's
consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to
in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and
Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or
uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove
incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated,
believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the
information in this press release as of this date and does not
undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements
contained in this press release as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise.

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 each of these areas. In
2008, the Group's continuing operations achieved net sales of USD
41.5 billion and net income of USD 8.2 billion. Approximately USD 7.2
billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ
approximately 99,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in
more than 140 countries around the world. For more information,
please visit http://www.novartis.com.


[1] Mackenzie et al., 2004
[2] World Health Organization (WHO) Dengue Fact Sheet.
Available at http://www.who.int/topics/dengue/en/

# # #

Novartis Media Relations

Central media line : +41 61 324 2200
Eric Althoff
Novartis Global Media Relations
+41 61 324 7999 (direct)
+41 79 593 4202 (mobile)

e-mail: media.relations@novartis.com

Novartis Investor Relations

Central phone: +41 61 324 7944
Ruth Metzler-Arnold +41 61 324 9980 North America:
Pierre-Michel Bringer +41 61 324 1065 Richard Jarvis +1 212
830 2433
John Gilardi +41 61 324 3018 Jill Pozarek +1 212
830 2445
Thomas Hungerbuehler +41 61 324 8425 Edwin +1 212
Valeriano 830 2456
Isabella Zinck +41 61 324 7188
e-mail: investor.relations@novartis.com

--- End of Message ---

Novartis International AG
Posfach Basel

WKN: 904278; ISIN:
CH0012005267; Index: SLCI, SMI, SPI, SLIFE;
Listed: Main Market in SIX Swiss Exchange, ZLS in BX Berne eXchange;
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