* Late-stage data being presented at ASH meeting
* Tasigna expected to replace older drug Glivec as it loses
ZURICH Dec 12 Novartis's blood
cancer drug Tasigna is more effective at treating a type of
chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) than the Swiss drugmaker's older
drug Glivec, late-stage trial data showed, in the latest boost
to the group's oncology franchise.
The data, which are being presented at the American Society
of Hematology's annual meeting, further underscore the promising
prospects for Tasigna, which is tipped to have sales of around
$2.5 billion by 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Phase III ENESTcmr trial looked at the impact of
switching adult patients with residual disease after a minimum
of two years of treatment with Glivec to Tasigna to see if a
deeper level of response could be reached.
The results showed a two-fold difference in confirmed
undetectable complete molecular response for 13 percent of
patients on Tasigna compared with 6 percent of patients on
Glivec, though Novartis said statistical significance was not
Meanwhile follow-up data from the ENESTnd trial after 36
months showed that Tasigna was better at slowing progression of
newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid
leukaemia than Glivec.
Novartis, which is increasingly focusing on more specialist
drugs, is banking on its newest drugs to help it navigate the
loss of exclusivity on top-selling drugs such as blood pressure