* EMA recommends Sirturo for multidrug-resistant TB
* Decision on Teva/Active Biotech's MS drug now seen in Jan
LONDON Dec 20 European regulators on Friday
recommended approval of an innovative tuberculosis drug from
Johnson & Johnson but postponed a keenly awaited
decision on a new multiple sclerosis pill from Teva
The European Medicine Agency (EMA) said J&J's Sirturo, which
was approved in the United States last December, had been
endorsed as a treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
The EMA had also been expected to decide this week on Teva's
laquinimod, which the Israeli company is developing for multiple
sclerosis with Swedish partner Active Biotech - but,
in the event, this verdict was put off.
Active Biotech said it now expected the decision to come in
An EMA spokeswoman declined to give further details on the
product but said the agency's experts could decide to postpone
adoption of an opinion if deemed necessary, even when a drug was
slated for a decision at a particular meeting.
Prospects for laquinimod are viewed by analysts as
uncertain, since the drug missed its main goal in a late-stage
trial in 2011 and U.S. regulators have asked for another Phase
III study before considering it.
Despite that setback, Teva is still hoping to launch the
drug in Europe in 2014. If it makes it, laquinimod will be
entering an increasingly crowded marketplace, with rival oral
treatments for multiple sclerosis already approved from Novartis
, Biogen Idec and Sanofi.
Recommendations for marketing approval by the European
Medicine Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use
(CHMP) are normally endorsed by the European Commission within a
couple of months.