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US FDA Approves Extavia(R) - the First in a New Portfolio of Planned MS Therapies from Novartis to Help Patients with this Devastating Disease
Date:8/16/2009

EAST HANOVER, N.J., Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Extavia(R) (interferon beta-1b), the first in a new planned portfolio of multiple sclerosis (MS) medicines from Novartis to help patients manage this devastating disease.

Extavia is approved by the FDA for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations. The therapy is also indicated for patients who have experienced a first clinical episode of MS and have features consistent with the disease as shown by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)(4).

The same medicinal product as Betaseron(R)*, Extavia offers patients and physicians a new branded version of interferon beta-1b, a first-line disease-modifying therapy that has been a standard-of-care for MS in the US for more than 16 years(1). Extavia will be marketed by the Pharmaceuticals Division of Novartis.

"Interferon is a mainstay of treatment in MS," said Doug Jeffery, MD, Associate Professor at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. "With the approval of Extavia, patients have another option with a well-established safety and efficacy profile to help manage this disease."

MS is estimated to affect approximately 400,000 patients in the US, of whom more than 80% have relapsing-remitting MS(5). MS is one of the most common causes of neurological disability in young adults. It is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the myelin sheath, or protective tissue surrounding the nerve fibers that carry electrical signals in the brain(6). The destruction of myelin causes problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, sensation and mental function(7).

"Novartis has been a leader in neuroscience for more than 50 years, having pioneered a numb
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SOURCE Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
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