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Sandoz, the generic arm of Novartis (NVS - Analyst Report), recently announced that it has received marketing authorization for AirFluSal Forspiro in Denmark.

AirFluSal Forspiro is a new inhaler for patients suffering from asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). AirFluSal Forspiro has been approved in both mid and high-strength dosage forms (50-250µg and 50-500µg) for the continuous treatment of patients above 12 years of age with persistent asthma or for symptomatic treatment of COPD for the same age group.

Sandoz had earlier proved the safety, efficacy and equivalence of AirFluSal Forspiroin in multiple clinical trials. Sandoz collaborated with UK-based Vectura for the development of AirFluSal Forspiro.

We note that Sandoz generated sales of $6.7 billion in the first nine months of 2013 driven by double-digit retail generics and biosimilars sales increases in Western Europe (excluding Germany). Sandoz recorded a volume growth of 17 percentage points driven by the acquisition of Fougera which more than offset the impact of price erosion. 

We remind investors that Sandoz acquired specialty dermatology generics company Fougera Pharmaceuticals in Jul 2012 for $1.5 billion in cash.

Biosimilars continue to be the growth engine of Sandoz, generating double-digit sales growth driven by continued momentum in its three in-market products – Omnitrope (human growth hormone), Binocrit (epoetin alfa) and Zarzio (filgrastim).

In addition, Sandoz entered into a collaboration agreement with Taiwan Liposome Company Ltd. As per the agreement, Sandoz will be responsible for the commercialization of the latter's Liposomal Amphotericin B product in the EU and U.S. territories.

The approval of AirFluSal Forspiro and the deal with Taiwan Liposome Company will further boost sales and strengthen Sandoz's product portfolio.

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, stocks like Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ - Analyst Report), Shire (SHPG - Analyst Report) and Santarus Inc., look attractive. All three carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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