Express Pharma

Novartis wins key European panel’s thumbs-up for migraine drug


The company has not said what it will charge in Europe, where prices differ from country to country

Novartis’ new migraine drug Aimovig won a key recommendation from a key European panel, helping open the way for potential sales before the end of the year for a medicine the Swiss drugmaker is counting on to boost growth.

After receiving the nod from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) the drug for treating migraine headaches in adults still needs approval by the European Commission, but it usually follows the CHMP recommendation.

The drug, developed by Novartis and Amgen, Aimovig won approval in the US two weeks ago.
The medicine, also called erenumab or AMG334, is the first in a new class of treatments designed to prevent migraine by interfering with calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is involved in the processes that kick off the severe headaches, such as dilation of blood vessels in the brain.

In the US, Amgen and Novartis are pricing the self-injection drug at $6,900 a year, or $575 a month, before discounts. There, prescription benefits managers had taken aim at the drug, announcing in advance that they saw it as a test case to help rein in prices.

Novartis has not said what it will charge in Europe, where prices differ from country to country.
Competition could eventually also become fierce. Companies including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Eli Lilly & Co and Alder Biopharmaceuticals are developing similar treatments.

Novartis and Amgen are selling Aimovig in the US. Amgen has commercialisation rights in Japan, while Novartis has the rights elsewhere.


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