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Novartis forms alliance with Bristol-Myers

Novartis signs deal with US group


Swiss healthcare group, Novartis, has formed an alliance with the United States firm, Bristol-Myers Squibb, to develop and promote Novartis's new irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) treatment, Zelmac.

The drug, which Novartis intends to launch in the US in the first half of next year, pending approval by the US regulatory authorities, is the main focus of the company's promotion drive in 2001.

The US market is considered to be a key target for the new treatment.

The alliance, which excludes Japan, will promote Zelmac to doctors and strengthen Novartis' efforts to educate consumers about IBS.

Novartis said the ailment affects millions of people but its symptoms are often not clearly defined or understood.

The two firms will also collaborate in the development of two Bristol-Myers immune modulating compounds.

swissinfo with agencies

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