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Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Novartis AG said an experimental drug worked better than a placebo in two advanced clinical tests on psoriatic arthritis, improving the prospects for winning regulatory approval.

Novartis plans to file globally for approval to sell the drug, called secukinumab, next year, the Basel, Switzerland- based drugmaker said today in a statement.

About 30 percent of people with the skin disease psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis, a long-lasting condition that causes joint pain and stiffness, and may lead to irreversible damage. The market for drugs to treat the ailment will reach $3.7 billion in 2023, according to Decisions Resources Group, a health-care industry consultant.

As much as 1 percent of the population may be affected by the disease, Novartis said.

Secukinumab may garner sales of $1 billion by 2019, according to the average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company said it expects the medicine to get approval as a treatment for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis late this year or in early 2015. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is set to review it for that disease next month. The drug is also in clinical tests for other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Mulier in Geneva at tmulier@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.net Marthe Fourcade, Robert Valpuesta

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