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(Bloomberg) -- Novartis AG submitted two drug applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, saying final-stage clinical tests show the treatments improve breathing in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The drugmaker filed the requests for QVA149 and NVA237 in the fourth quarter of last year, Basel-based Novartis said today in a statement. Third-phase clinical tests on both drugs showed “positive” results in improving lung function, the company said.

Drugmakers are introducing new respiratory treatments as existing drugs lose intellectual property rights. The European patent on GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Advair expired in 2013. COPD kills a person every 10 seconds and will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, the World Health Organization has said. Conditions known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema are both included in the COPD diagnosis.

“There is an urgent need for new treatment options in COPD because many patients remain symptomatic despite medical therapy,” Novartis said.

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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 John Bowker, Robert Valpuesta

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