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Novartis MS Drug Could Generate $1 Billion : CEO

Novartis
AP
Novartis

The first oral treatment for multiple sclerosis could generate $1 billion in sales, the CEO of Novartis, its manufacturer, told CNBC Thursday.

“It’s a major change in treatment [of the disease],” said Novartis’ Joseph Jimenez about the drug called Gilenya. “It will be a blockbuster for us.”

The market for MS drugs is $10 billion, so if Gilenya lives up to the CEO’s projections, it would capture a tenth of the market.

The progressively debilitating disease, in which a person’s immune system attacks the fatty substance that protects nerve fibers, is typically treated with injections and infusions. The oral drug makes it easier for MS patients to manage their disease.

Competitor Merck is also working on an oral MS drug.