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EU approval for MS drug


The European Commission has approved Extavia (interferon beta-1b) for the treatment of early and relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Extavia is the Novartis-branded version of interferon beta-1b, a first-line disease-modifying therapy injected every other day for the treatment of MS.

Interferon beta-1b has been available globally for more than 13 years and is supported by more than 700,000 patient-years of experience.

Formerly known as NVF233, Extavia is the same medicine as Betaferon®/Betaseron®, which is marketed by Bayer-Schering and was the first beta interferon treatment for MS.

Novartis gained rights to its own branded version of this medicine in agreements with Bayer-Schering related to the acquisition of Chiron.

“Novartis is committed to MS and to providing effective treatments for patients with this disease,” said Trevor Mundel, MD, Head of Global Development Functions at Novartis Pharma AG.

“The approval of Extavia means we are able to offer the MS community a current standard of care while preparing for the introduction of innovative therapies such as FTY720.”

Novartis also recently filed for approval of interferon beta-1b with the US Food and Drug Administration. Launches in the US and EU are planned for the first half of 2009, in line with an agreement with Bayer-Schering that established the opportunity for Novartis to introduce its own branded version of interferon beta-1b.


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