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Encouraging Data from Novartis

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Novartis (NVS - Free Report) recently announced encouraging data on diabetes drug Galvus (vildagliptin) from a large multi-center randomized trial, INTERVAL study (n=278).

The 24-week study evaluated Galvus’ ability to achieve individualized treatment targets in elderly patients suffering from type II diabetes with a key focus on individual HbA1c targets.

It was observed that elderly patients suffering from type II diabetes who were treated with Galvus reported greater reductions in HbA1c compared to those treated with placebo along with background oral antidiabetic treatment.

The study further showed that Galvus is three times more likely to achieve individualized treatment targets. Moreover, the drug was well tolerated.

We note that Galvus is approved for the treatment of type II diabetes as a monotherapy and in combination with metformin, a sulphonylurea, a thiazolidinedione or insulin, in more than 100 countries including EU member states, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Japan.

Moreover, Galvus was approved in the EU in 2012 as a second-line monotherapy for type II diabetes patients, who cannot take meformin. Further, the European Commission also approved the use of Galvus in combination with other diabetes treatments in 2012.

We note that Galvus recorded sales of $910 million in 2012, up 43% from a year ago (in constant currencies).

Approximately 20% of population older than 65 years suffers from type II diabetes. Hence, we believe that the successful development and commercialization of Galvus for additional indications will further boost the sales potential of the drug.

We remind investors that Novo Nordisk’s (NVO - Free Report) Victoza is also approved for the treatment of type II diabetes.

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3. Right now, Salix Pharmaceuticals , and Santarus, Inc. look attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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