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FTY720, a novel oral therapy in development for MS, shows sustained benefits for the majority of patients after three years of treatment
Date:4/15/2008

the six-month placebo-controlled trial showed that FTY720 reduced relapse rates by more than 50% compared to placebo. Current first-line therapies for MS reduced relapse rates by 30-35% on average in two-year studies.

Among patients originally on placebo who converted to active therapy in the extension, 51% were free of relapses at three years. The figure at two years was 57%.

FTY720 has been generally well tolerated throughout the three years of the Phase II study and its extension, with the most common adverse events being nasopharyngitis, headache, fatigue and influenza. Increases in alanine aminotransferase (liver enzymes) were observed in 16% of patients. Dermatological screening of patients was implemented in the extension after a small number of cases of localized skin malignancies were reported.

Novartis continues to study FTY720 in an ongoing, blinded Phase III clinical trial program. This program includes comprehensive monitoring that will further assess and characterize the safety profile of FTY720. For more information about the clinical trial program, including eligibility criteria and location of U.S. study sites, patients can call the following toll-free number: 866-788-3930, or visit http://www.MSClinicalTrials.com.

MS is caused by the destruction of myelin, which helps neurons carry electrical signals in the brain. The disease causes problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, sensation and mental function. MS typically presents in relapsing forms involving acute self-limiting attacks of neurological dysfunction (or "relapses") followed by complete or partial restoration of functions.

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The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as "planned", "potential", "would", "encouraging", "expected", "commitment", "may", "continues", "will", or similar expressions, or by expre
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SOURCE Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
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