* Phase III Trial in polycythemia vera meet main goal
* Plans to submit data to regulators this year
* Analysts says drug has blockbuster potential
ZURICH, March 7 Novartis drug Jakavi
achieved its main goal in a late-stage trial for patients
suffering from a rare blood cancer, putting it on track to
become a potential blockbuster treatment with sales of $1
Jakavi is already approved to treat myelofibrosis, a form of
blood cancer, and was tested in a Phase III trial for patients
with polycythemia vera, an incurable cancer associated with the
overproduction of blood cells.
When compared with the best available therapy, the drug was
able to maintain red blood cell volume without the need for
phlebotomy and reduce spleen size in certain patients, Novartis
said in a statement on Friday.
The Swiss drugmaker plans to submit the data to global
regulators this year.
Jakavi is one of Novartis' so-called growth products and
achieved sales of $163 million last year, up from $30 million in
2012. Novartis licensed the drug from Incyte Corp and
markets the medicine outside of the United States.
"With the additional indication of polycythemia vera now
likely to get approved next year, Jakavi definitely emerges as
another new drug with blockbuster potential for Novartis," J.
Safra Sarasin analyst David Kaegi said.
Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss forecasts peak sales of 500
million Swiss francs ($567 million) for each therapeutic
The positive data for Jakavi comes after French competitor
Sanofi was forced to halt all clinical trials and
cancel plans to seek regulatory approval of fedratinib, its drug
to treat myelofibrosis, because of safety concerns.