As blood cancer wonder-drug Gleevec ages, Novartis is trying to build out indications for follow-up Tasigna. After an up-and-down week for the pair, the Swiss pharma is now short a potential Tasigna label expansion, thanks to a snag in Europe. But a change of heart for the U.K.'s cost watchdog on Gleevec may give the franchise a boost.
Novartis is facing yet another investigation in Japan. Little more than a month after a panel of Japanese lawyers uncovered serious misconduct during a trial of its leukemia drug, Tasigna, the Japanese government is probing whether the company broke the law by failing to report side effects of the product.
Novartis employees were more involved in a Japanese drug study than previously suspected. The University of Tokyo Hospital said doctors not only let Novartis employees collect patient data from various trial sites but also allowed the Swiss drugmaker into its records on all 255 trial participants.
With the American Society of Hematology meeting in New Orleans, a slew of blood cancer studies are in the spotlight. Three of the releases caught our eye, because they're significant new data on drugs already on the market.
For a long time, pharma companies have looked to large disease populations as the biggest potential revenue streams. But those days are long gone. That perception has shifted, especially with the prescription drug market stagnating in the U.S. and Europe. Orphan drugs--pharmaceutical treatments for rare diseases or disorders--have proven themselves as viable moneymakers, and the industry has taken note. Read the report >>
Novartis and its cancer drug Gleevec had one of those days that starts off not looking so good and then something comes along to turn things around.
Why would Novartis want to persuade patients to quit taking Gleevec? Because it is going off patent in 2015, already has more competition and because the company wants patients to start using its replacement therapy, Tasigna, to keep them within its drug-selling fold.
As Ariad, Pfizer and others make strides with their rival antileukemia compounds, Novartis aims to show how its newer therapy Tasigna helps more patients beat their cancer and stop taking the drug than Gleevec does.
When it comes to news releases, CEOs can't control the conversation. No doubt Novartis ($NVS) Chief Joe Jimenez would like to tell reporters, "Diovan may be dying but our new drugs don't need therapy--Discuss."
The FDA gave its blessing to Bosulif, a treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive disease. It's a second-line approval, for patients who've failed on--or can't tolerate--another drug. Analysts figure the approval is worth $341 million in annual sales by 2016, Reuters reports.