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Novartis and Sony Pictures Television International's Latin American Advertising Sales Group Launch Partnership to Create Multi-Media Platform for Breast Cancer Awareness, Detection, and Treatment in Latin America

MIAMI, February 27, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Novartis and Sony Pictures Television International's (SPTI) Latin American advertising sales group today launched "SER," a breast cancer prevention and early detection campaign in support of Latin American women. The groundbreaking campaign combines Novartis' resources and expertise in oncology and SPTI's powerful media reach to assist Latin America women in their fight against breast cancer. The campaign is called "SER," which means "to be" in Spanish, to signify the strength required to "just be" by those going through breast cancer and the support they receive from loved ones, whether it's to be strong, to be sad, to be hopeful, or to just be comfortable in their own skin as they go through treatment.

Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death for women worldwide and is the leading cause of death for women in South America. Recognizing that the challenge of breast cancer is beyond the capacity of any one partner or sector to address, "SER" is a groundbreaking campaign to build an online community where women can access a wide spectrum of expertise and resources they need to understand, detect, and treat breast cancer, and to promote it via the cable television channels for which SPTI handles the advertising sales in Latin America, including Sony Entertainment Television (SET), E!, A&E, AXN, Casa Club TV, MGM and The History Channel.

"Novartis is proud to join this partnership as the philosophy of the 'SER' campaign is consistent with our belief that the greatest improvements in health are achieved when companies operate in concert with other interested parties such as governments, charities, and the medical community," said Dr. Luis Villalba, president of Novartis Latin America.

"By combining science, patient services, and the media in the 'SER' campaign Sony Pictures Television International and its other partners are creating a powerful new model for corporate social responsibility in the area of cancer care," said Ms. Klaudia Bermudez-Key, senior vice president of advertising sales for SPTI's Latin American region.

"The 'SER' campaign is an innovative approach to deliver the message of breast cancer early detection and treatment on a massive scale throughout Latin America where a culture of fear and silence surrounds the disease preventing many patients from achieving early detection and effective treatment," said Dr. Elmer Huerta, president of the American Cancer Society.

Through the SER campaign, Novartis and SPTI have created a novel platform where Latin American women can easily access expertise, resources, and services from the very large community of survivors, physicians, non-governmental organizations, academia, as well as the public and private sectors. Novartis and SPTI are currently recruiting partners to provide a range of needed expertise to include scientific and medical knowledge, financial advice, patient education, treatment options, fashion tips, as well as health and diet plans.

The three principal components of the campaign are the Web portal http://www.iniciativaser.com, the media promotion of the SER initiative, utilizing SPTI media resources, and community-based programming. The Web portal is the core of the campaign which will be promoted by programming and public service announcements featuring celebrities such as Carolina Herrera and Fanny Lu in the portfolio of leading Latin American channels it represents for advertising sales.

About Novartis

Novartis AG is a world leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease suffering and enhance the quality of life. We are strengthening our medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics, human vaccines and leading self-medication OTC brands. Novartis is the only company with leadership positions in these areas. In 2006, the Group's businesses achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion. Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ more than 100,000 associates and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

About Sony Pictures Television International

Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) is the division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) responsible for all television business outside of the United States. SPTI operates three complementary lines of business: 1) distribution of SPE's feature films and television programming to television, mobile and digital content delivery outlets around the world, 2) local television production in key international markets, and 3) international television networks. In addition to being a leader in the distribution of current and classic U.S. and international films and television product worldwide, SPTI produces high profile, locally produced television in local languages. With dedicated offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Miami (Latin America), the People's Republic of China, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom, SPTI currently oversees production in nine regions of the world and is the leader in international television production among all major Hollywood studios. SPTI's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in the SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with almost 50 networks in more than 130 countries reaching more than 300 million households worldwide. SPTI is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering, and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. Founded in 1913, the Society has local offices in 3,400 communities, involving nearly three million volunteers across the United States.

The American Cancer Society's international work focuses on capacity building of civil society and on collaborating with other cancer-related organizations across the globe to carry out its mission. The American Cancer Society is well-positioned to assist both public and nonprofit organizations in Latin America through the provision of patient information, training, and institutional capacity building. In Latin America, the American Cancer Society has a robust program of training, technical assistance, and grants for leading cancer nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Areas of particular interest are early detection, patient advocacy, and collaboration.


     Contacts:  Ron Sato

                Sony Pictures Television International

                +1 310 244 4687

                


                Martin Forrest

                Novartis

                +1 862 778 5438

                

ron_sato@spe.sony.com Martin.forrest@novartis.com

CONTACT: Ron Sato of Sony Pictures Television International,+1-310-244-4687, ; or Martin Forrest of Novartis,+1-862-778-5438, ron_sato@spe.sony.com Martin.forrest@novartis.com

Web site: http://www.iniciativaser.com/http://www.novartis.com/

Ticker Symbol: (NYSE:NVS)

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Posted: February 2008


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