Novartis looks to poach Advair patients with positive Ultibro switching data

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Novartis' Advair switching trial mirrors what "would happen in everyday clinical practice,” Novartis Pharmaceuticals’ chief medical officer Shreeram Aradhye said in a statement.

Novartis is looking to snatch patients from GlaxoSmithKline with Advair rival Ultibro Breezhaler. And it has some new data in hand that could help convince doctors and patients to make the switch.

Monday, the Swiss drugmaker touted positive study results showing that moving to Ultibro from the Glaxo drug, known in Europe as Seretide, significantly improved lung function among COPD patients.

RELATED: Novartis hopes Seretide-topping data can push docs toward Ultibro

It’s not the first Advair-topping data the company has in its pocket; Ultibro has already shown it can top the GSK giant at both improving lung function and cutting down the rate of COPD exacerbations. But the new data are the first to confirm the benefits of a direct switch “as would happen in everyday clinical practice,” Novartis Pharmaceuticals’ chief medical officer Shreeram Aradhye said in a statement.

As Novartis was quick to point out, the results reinforce treatment recommendations that support the use of LABA/LAMA dual bronchodilators over steroid-containing treatments such as Advair.

Glaxo, though, isn’t about to let those patients go. It markets its own LABA/LAMA med, Ultibro rival Anoro Ellipta, in both the U.S. and Europe, and it’s counting on its large Ellipta portfolio—which includes meds in “every category,”—to help bolster use of the individual meds, Cheryl MacDiarmid, company SVP of primary care, said recently.

RELATED: New data in hand, AstraZeneca gears up to take Duaklir into crowded U.S. COPD space

Ultibro and Anoro aren’t alone, though. They’ve also got Boehringer Ingelheim’s Stiolto Respimat and AstraZeneca’s Bevespi Aerosphere to contend with around the globe, and AZ is working to bring its second LABA/LAMA—Duaklir, acquired with Almirall’s respiratory portfolio and already approved in Europe—to the U.S. market.