Novartis goes after Roche asthma medicine Xolair with new drug

Novartis goes after Roche asthma medicine Xolair with new drug

Novartis said it is pushing ahead with a late-stage study of its experimental drug ligelizumab after announcing the medicine outperformed Roche's Xolair in a Phase II clinical trial against urticaria, also known as hives.

Logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its branch in Schweizerhalle near Basel
Logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its branch in Schweizerhalle near Basel, Switzerland, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH: Novartis said it is pushing ahead with a late-stage study of its experimental drug ligelizumab after announcing the medicine outperformed Roche's Xolair in a Phase II clinical trial against urticaria, also known as hives.

The move sets the stage for a new head-to-head battle between the Swiss drug giants. Xolair had 1.74 billion Swiss francs (US$1.75 billion) in sales in 2017 and is a pillar of Roche's immunology franchise, but Novartis sees an opportunity and plans two Phase III studies with more than 2,000 patients who suffer from chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU).

(US$1 = 0.9960 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by John Miller; editing by Thomas Seythal)

Source: Reuters

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