NICE backs Xolair for childhood asthma

Markus MacGill

pharmaphorum

Novartis drug Xolair (omalizumab) has been given final recommendation for use in children aged 6-11 years with severe persistent allergic asthma by the UK’s health cost watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The drug is recommended for second-line use in children who have received continuous or frequent oral corticosteroids for a year. The decision from NICE overturns an earlier decision against it.

“Many people with uncontrolled severe asthma live in fear that their next asthma attack could be fatal. Today’s final guidance, means that treatment may be available that can significantly improve their quality of life and help reduce patient exposure to the well documented issues associated with long-term use of corticosteroids.”

Dr Robert Niven, senior lecturer in respiratory medicine, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

Novartis has also today announced its first-quarter financial results and a new chief financial officer. Excluding some costs, profit went up to $3.25 billion. Analysts’ average predictions had been that Novartis would see a first-quarter profit of $3.12 billion.

Harry Kirsch has been promoted to chief financial officer at the company. Chief executive Joseph Jimenez said in a statement: “Kirsch’s deep knowledge of Novartis pharmaceuticals operations and his productivity focus will now benefit the full portfolio.”

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Related news:

Novartis Profit Rises 7% on Lack of Generic Diovan (Bloomberg)

Novartis seeks productivity improvements with new CFO (Reuters)

Reference links:

Novartis first-quarter results press release

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