Novartis Wins Wider Use of Gleevec in Children’s Cancer

Europe’s biggest drugmaker, won approval to expand the use of its top-selling drug, Gleevec, to children newly diagnosed with the most common pediatric cancer.

The therapy can be used against a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia that affects about 2,900 children a year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today in a statement. The cancer causes the bone marrow to produce too many immature white blood cells, crowding out the healthy cells needed to fight infection, and spreads rapidly if untreated.

Gleevec, first approved for leukemia in 2001, generated in sales last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its patent protection against generic competitors runs out next year, and Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis has been trying to shift patients to a new treatment, Tasigna.

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Christine Bork
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