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Novartis treatment gains US approval

The FDA has approved a key Novartis cancer drug

(Keystone Archive)

The pharmaceuticals group, Novartis, has received a welcome boost with the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of its key cancer drug, Zometa.

Zometa treats high calcium levels, which affect more than 10 per cent of cancer patients in later stages of the disease. The high calcium levels are a potentially life-threatening complication of cancer.

The FDA's approval is important because it adds a drug that will replace Aredia, a Novartis product that faces generic competition later this year.

Novartis says Zometa is more effective than Aredia because of its shorter infusion time.

Novartis has faced a number of US regulatory delays this year that have knocked its share price. Tuesday's announcement saw its share price rise more than three per cent to SFr60.40.

Swissinfo with agencies


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