Novartis raised EUR 1.85 billion euros of funds through a bond sale earlier this month. A bond sale by a large multinational corporation is not news. What is news is the type of bonds they were: sustainability-linked bonds (SLBs). From the Novartis press release:
The new bond is the first of its kind in the healthcare industry and the first SLB incorporating social targets, with bondholders entitled to receive a higher amount of interest if Novartis fails to meet its targets for expanding access to its innovative medicines and addressing key global health challenges, two areas where Novartis can drive the greatest value for society.
“For decades, Novartis has worked to improve access to medicines and tackle global health challenges. We’re currently working to support global health efforts to address diseases like malaria and leprosy, to continue novel research into tropical diseases, and to ensure access to our new medicines in low- and middle-income countries,” said Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. “Today’s announcement is another important step on our journey to integrate ESG into the core of our business, measure our progress, hold ourselves accountable, and demonstrate our dedication to making good on our promise to broaden global access to our medicines.”
Providing medicines to those in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is a laudable goal. Will SLB by one way to better incentivize drug development in LMICs? Only time will tell.
Hat tip: STAT News.