Novartis rolls out heart-helping data for Ultibro COPD edge

Novartis' Ultibro competes against fellow LAMA/LABA drugs Anoro, Spiolto and Duaklir in Europe. (Novartis)

The COPD market is growing more and more competitive in Europe. So Novartis is looking to new heart data to give contender Ultibro Breezhaler an edge.

Data published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine show Ultibro beat out placebo at significantly improving both cardiac and lung function in COPD patients with lung hyperinflation. The study, known as Claim, is the first to examine the effect of a med from the LABA/LAMA class on cardiac function, Novartis said.

Results show the Ultibro therapy decreased lung hyperinflation and produced improvements in cardiac function after two weeks of treatment, translating into “clinically relevant patient benefits of improved health status and breathlessness,” the company said.

RELATED: Novartis looks to poach Advair patients with positive Ultibro switching data

It’s not the first set of recent data Novartis has rolled out in hopes of getting a leg up on the competition. In November, it trumpeted positive study results showing that switching to Ultibro from the GlaxoSmithKline COPD behemoth Advair, known in Europe as Seretide, significantly improved lung function among COPD patients. And before that, in separate studies, it showed Ultibro could top the GSK giant at both improving lung function and cutting down the rate of COPD exacerbations.

The Swiss drugmaker has more competition to worry about than just Advair, though. It competes in a crowded LABA/LAMA field that also features GSK’s Anoro Ellipta, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Spiolto Respimat and AstraZeneca’s Duaklier, and AstraZeneca is expecting a European approval for Bevespi Aerosphere—already on the U.S. market—in the second half of this year.

RELATED: GlaxoSmithKline, needing a sales surge, wins FDA nod for $1B-plus prospect Trelegy

Meanwhile, Glaxo already has an OK on the continent for Trelegy, a three-med cocktail that takes the LAMA/LABA combo up a notch with the addition of an inhaled corticosteroid. Others, such as AZ, are working on their own so-called “closed triples,” too.