April 15, 2008 / 8:48 PM / 11 years ago

Novartis's FTY720 cuts multiple sclerosis attacks

ZURICH, April 15 (Reuters) - Novartis AG’s NOVN.VX once-daily FTY720 pill reduced the number of attacks suffered by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) after three years, according to data presented on Tuesday.

Nearly three-quarter of patients taking a 5 milligram dose of FTY720, and 68 percent on a 1.25 mg dose, remained free of attacks after three years, Novartis said in a statement.

“All of the current treatments for MS must be injected, so having a pill you can swallow with a glass of water would be a welcome improvement for many people,” study author Giancarlo Comi said in a statement.

Novartis plans to file FTY720, currently in late-stage trials, for approval in the United States and Europe before the end of 2009.

More than 2.5 million people are affected by MS, which causes the body’s immune system to attack the central nervous system, causing problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, sensation and mental functions.

The FTY720 data, from an ongoing extension to a mid-stage clinical trial, were presented at an American Academy of Neurology meeting in Chicago. (Reporting by Sam Cage)

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