A phase III study revealed that Novartis AG’s (NVS’s) experimental drug, NVA237, is just as effective in treating lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as the standard therapy. These findings reinforce the prospects for the Swiss drug maker’s respiratory franchise.
The study, named GLOW2, found that NVA237 treated patients suffering from moderate to severe COPD better than the placebo and was well tolerated and similarly efficient as the popular drug tiotropium, also known as Spiriva.
“This new study adds to the growing evidence that NVA237 could be an important treatment option for COPD and supports our plans to develop a fixed-dose combination with our Onbrez Breezhaler,” said Trevor Mundel, Novartis’ global head of development, in a statement released by the organization.
Onbrez Breezhaler is also known by its generic name, indacaterol. While initial hopes that Novartis would soon launch several new lung drugs were dampened by regulatory concerns in the U.S., analysts believe that the company could generate an excess of $2.5 billion in sales from the franchise once medicines are approved. Additional Novartis lung medicines include Xolair and Foradil.
The lung care franchise is expected to help the company bridge the loss of sales expected from the expiration of patents for Novartis’ heart drug, Divoan, and cancer medication, Gleevec.