A European Union advisory panel has recommended Novartis's glivec drug for treating a rare form of gut cancer.
The Swiss healthcare giant said on Friday that this latest move by the EU sets the stage for formal approval of the drug by mid-year.
The Committee for Proprietary Medical Products (CPMP) suggested approval of glivec for treating inoperable or metastatic malignant gastrointestinal tumours, which affect around 12,000 new patients every year.
The EU normally approves products within four months after such a positive opinion.
The CPMP also recommended Swiss biotech company Actelion's tracleer for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension, a chronic and life-threatening disorder that disrupts heart and lung functioning.
The drug is already approved in North America for treating the disease.
swissinfo with agencies
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