September 3, 2019 / 5:53 AM / 3 months ago

Novartis's Sandoz licenses proposed multiple sclerosis biosimilar

ZURICH, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis's Sandoz division has licensed from Polpharma Biologics a proposed biosimilar version of multiple sclerosis drug natalizumab, the companies said on Tuesday without giving financial details of the accord.

The medicine is in Phase III clinical development for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

Polpharma Biologics will develop, manufacture and supply the drug, while Sandoz will commercialise and distribute the medicine in all markets through an exclusive global license.

Natalizumab, already on the market for a decade, is sold by Biogen Inc as Tsybari.

Pierre Bourdage, interim head of biopharmaceuticals at Sandoz, said the deal could help provide more multiple sclerosis patients with treatment.

"With this agreement, we hope to build on our MS experience with small molecules and complex generics and ultimately provide patients with expanded access to a (disease-modifying treatment) that healthcare systems may otherwise not be able to provide," he said.

Novartis last week stepped up its challenge to Roche's multiple sclerosis franchise, highlighting study results for its MS hopeful ofatumumab that could compete with its cross-town rival's drug Ocrevus. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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