Novartis’s Jakavi Finds Success in Late-Stage Clinical Trial

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A new Novartis (NYSE:NVS) drug, ruxolitinib, which is being marketed as Jakavi, was successful in late-stage trials, Reuters reports. The drug has the potential to become a blockbuster for Novartis, with sales estimated at more than $1 billion annually.

Jakavi is already approved as a treatment in patients with myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer. The recent late-stage trials were testing the drug in patients with polycythemia vera, a disorder of the bone marrow that causes the overproduction of blood cells, particularly red blood cells.

The drug met its primary endpoint in a phase III trial compared with the current best available therapy; Jakavi helped regulated the number of red blood cells in patients with polycythemia vera without the need for phlebotomy (a procedure in which blood is drawn in order to reduce the number of red blood cells.)

“We are encouraged by these pivotal Phase III trial results, which show the potential of ruxolitinib to help patients with polycythemia vera,” said Novartis’ President of Oncology Alessandro Riva, who is also the Global Head of Oncology Development and Medical Affairs for the company, per MarketWatch. ”We plan to submit this data to worldwide regulatory agencies this year as we seek to bring ruxolitinib to patients with polycythemia vera who are no longer responding to are are intolerant of prior therapy.”

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