Conducting animal research responsibly

Novartis is committed to using alternatives to animal research wherever feasible. Our global policy and standards define key principles, responsibilities and requirements governing animal research. All studies sponsored by Novartis, whether conducted internally or externally, must adhere to our policy and standards.

In 2021, all Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in-vivo research sites received accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, underscoring our progress in conducting responsible animal research.

We adhere to the 3R principles: reduce the number of animals in studies, refine study methods to improve the animal’s experience, and replace animal studies with alternative options. In 2021, for example, researchers across three disease areas joined forces to profile neuroinflammation pathways in a model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), reducing the number of animals needed for study by 86%.

Similarly, researchers reduced the number of animals needed for a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) study by developing a non-invasive method for measuring anti-tumor activity in the same animals over time. We also replaced the use of animals in a training program on key principles of surgery by deploying a new digital training platform.

Animal testing indicators

 

2021

2020

2019

Total

353 772

410 359

454 454

Rodents

265 111

312 332

355 451

% of total

74.94%

76.11%

78.21%

Zebrafish

88 229

97 596

97 551

% of total

24.94%

23.78%

21.47%

Other species

432

431

1 452

% of total

0.12%

0.11%

0.32%

1

Data refer to animals needed for internally conducted animal studies for Novartis. For animals needed for both internally and externally conducted animal studies, please see here.