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Last Updated: Nov 17th, 2006 - 22:35:04

Antivirals Channel
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Latest Research : Pharmacology : Antivirals

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Telbivudine emerging as a potent new treatment option for Hepatitis B
Jul 29, 2005, 22:25, Reviewed by: Dr.

"We believe that telbivudine is emerging as an important, potent new treatment option for hepatitis B, providing rapid and profound viral suppression."

 
Novartis Pharma AG and Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that the phase III GLOBE registration trial for telbivudine successfully reached its primary, composite efficacy endpoint of therapeutic response at one year in chronic hepatitis B patients. This endpoint, which was designed to assess if telbivudine was at least as effective as lamivudine, evaluated the combination of viral suppression (serum HBV DNA suppression below 100,000 copies/mL) coupled with either improved liver function (ALT normalization) or loss of detectable hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg).

The largest hepatitis B registration trial to date, GLOBE enrolled more than 1,350 patients in over 130 centers worldwide. The ongoing trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of telbivudine compared to lamivudine in patients with HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative compensated chronic hepatitis B for two years of treatment in two daily treatment regimens: telbivudine 600 mg or lamivudine 100 mg.

The one-year analysis of this trial will be the primary data used for preparing the marketing registration applications. Novartis and Idenix plan to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of 2005 for marketing approval of telbivudine for the treatment of chronic HBV. Worldwide marketing filings, including the filing that will be submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), are expected in the first quarter of 2006. Novartis and Idenix are co-developing telbivudine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that approximately 350 million people, or 5% of the world's population, are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus or HBV. Current treatment options are often associated with limited efficacy, poor tolerability or resistance concerns, and new therapeutic options are needed to respond to the significant unmet need in treating chronic HBV.

"We believe that telbivudine is emerging as an important, potent new treatment option for hepatitis B, providing rapid and profound viral suppression," said Joerg Reinhardt, Global Head of Development, Novartis Pharma AG. "Through our ongoing development programs and our collaboration with Idenix, we will continue to advance new hepatitis therapies to address the significant unmet medical needs that exist in this area."

The companies anticipate that complete data from the GLOBE study will be submitted for presentation to the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) meeting in San Francisco, California, November 11-15, 2005.

More About Telbivudine

Telbivudine is a specific and selective, oral, once-daily nucleoside that is unique in its preferential inhibition of 2nd strand HBV DNA synthesis. This distinct mechanism of action may be responsible for the rapid and profound viral suppression associated with telbivudine treatment.

The GLOBE study results continue to support a favorable overall safety profile for telbivudine with no substantial safety issues being identified to date through the combined two years of treatment in the phase IIb clinical trial and in the phase III clinical program to date.

An additional phase III trial (NV-02B-011) is evaluating the safety and efficacy of telbivudine compared to lamivudine in HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients with decompensated chronic hepatitis B. This ongoing trial has enrolled 87 patients to date.

About Hepatitis B

Chronic Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. The WHO estimates that annually over 50 million people become infected with HBV and that more than one million individuals die from HBV-related chronic liver disease.
 

- Novartis AG
 

www.novartis.com

 
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Idenix/Novartis Collaboration

Idenix is developing its hepatitis B clinical product candidates, telbivudine and valtorcitabine, in collaboration with Novartis Pharma AG under a development and commercialization arrangement established in May 2003. The collaboration arrangement further provides that Novartis and Idenix will co-promote in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK those product candidates Novartis has licensed, including telbivudine and valtorcitabine, that are approved for marketing. Novartis holds the exclusive license to telbivudine and valtorcitabine in the rest of the world.

The collaboration also provides Novartis with an exclusive option to license and collaborate with Idenix in the development and commercialization of other product candidates in Idenix's portfolio, including valopicitabine (NM283), a direct antiviral hepatitis C product candidate.

The foregoing release contains certain forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as "has the potential to," "is the first," "plans to," or similar expressions, or by discussions regarding the potential that telbivudine will be approved for marketing, or regarding any potential revenues from telbivudine. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results with telbivudine to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that telbivudine will be approved for sale in any market. In particular, management's expectations regarding commercialization of telbivudine could be affected by, among other things, uncertainties relating to clinical trials; new clinical data; unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; the company's ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; as well as other risks and factors referred to in the Company's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and consumer health. In 2004, the Group's businesses achieved net sales of USD 28.2 billion and pro forma net income of USD 5.6 billion. The Group invested approximately USD 4.2 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ about 83,700 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For further information please consult

CONTACT: Novartis Pharma Communications
Eric Althoff
+41 61 324 6392
+41 79 593 4202


Novartis Global Media Relations
John Gilardi
+41 61 324 3018
+41 61 324 2200


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