Animal Research at Novartis
Novartis is committed to transparent reporting of the numbers of animals needed for research and developmentthe discovery and study of molecules and chemical compounds to find out if they are safe and effective for treating specific diseases. purposes.
At Novartis, 79% of the animals used in 2011 were mice and rats. Only 3% of the total animals involved were animals such as sheep, dogs, cattle, horses, non-human primates, pigs, cats, rabbits, poultry, goats or ferrets. The remainder were species such as fish, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters.
An issue of particular ethical concern is the use of non-human primatesanimals such as monkeys. Novartis policy states that we will not use great apes unless required or recommended by regulatory bodies or where necessary to answer a biomedically relevant scientific question – and then only when no alternative is available. In these rare cases, such experiments must be supported by the Global Animal Welfare Committee and subsequently approved by the Corporate Animal Welfare Officer in consultation with the Chairman and the CEO of Novartis.
The astonishing scientific achievement of the complete sequencing of the human genome has revealed that it contains about 25,000 genes. Better knowledge of the role of these genes in human health and disease may help us ultimately to treat diseases that are currently difficult to treat or for which there is no treatment.
Animals such as mice, which share 99% of the human DNADeoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, contains the genetic instructions for most living organisms, including animals and humans., are helping to create the newest medicines. Scientists are now able to engineer human genes into a mouse. These genes can then be “turned on and off” to test the function of the gene in order to find out which pathways certain diseases use. This can help to determine what kinds of treatments might be most effective in treating these diseases.
Transgenic animalsan animal that has a gene from another animal specifically inserted into its genome. This is done to better understand disease pathways and to find new treatments. – in which there has been a deliberate modification of the genome – are therefore a unique and indispensable part of modern disease research for which there are no alternatives.
Our use of transgenic animals is governed by the same ethical and welfare standards as non-transgenic animals.