Game on: Novartis' COPD drug bests GSK blockbuster in phase III trials
- Findings from a phase III study of Novartis' Ultibro were presented at the European Respiratory Society Congress in Munich. The results showed that once-daily Ultibro Breezhaler was superior to the twice-daily Seretide Accuhaler in terms of reducing exacerbations and improving lung function.
- The LANTERN study included 744 patients at 56 sites in Latin America and Asia.
- Seretide is considered the current standard-of-care.
Although Ultibro Breezhaler is not yet approved by the FDA, it is approved in the EU, the UK, and Japan and Novartis has already struck a marketing deal with Pfizer wherein the latter company will promote Ultibro in the UK.
Phase III study results presented at the ERS Congress show that Ultibro reduced the rate of moderate-to-severe exacerbations by 31% compared to Seretide in moderate-to-severe COPD patients. Ultibro-treated patients also had significantly improved lung function. The COPD treatment market is competitive, but a significant medical need remains, especially considering the fact that COPD affects more than 200 million people worldwide and is among the top three leading causes of death worldwide.
One major element that sets Ultibro apart from Seretide: Novartis' treatment does not contain any corticosteroids, potentially making it an appealing option in light of the worldwide effort to reduce inhaled steroid use for chronic illnesses. Seretide brings in sales of approximately $8 billion per year.