ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis’s investigational multiple sclerosis drug ofatumumab cut the relapse rate in patients by more than half in trials comparing it to Sanofi’s Aubagio as the Swiss drugmaker aims to refresh its portfolio of medicines in neurological diseases.

Patients getting ofatumumab had an annualised relapse rate that corresponded to a reduction of 50.5% in one study and 58.8% in another, Novartis said in a statement on Friday. While Novartis’s study compared its medicine with Sanofi’s, the Basel-based company is hoping ofatumumab will challenge Roche’s star MS drug Ocrevus.

Novartis plans to start asking health authorities for approvals by year’s end.


Reporting by John Miller, Editing by Michael Shields


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