June 19, 2009

Feds approve U.S. sale of Ilaris

Novartis AG has received U.S. approval to market Ilaris, a drug that focuses on genetic triggers that cause disease, federal health officials said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of the niche drug Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

While Ilaris treats a rare genetic disorder that affects just a few thousand people, the drug symbolizes the way pharmaceutical development is changing at Novartis, a Swiss company, and throughout the industry, the Journal reported Friday.

The aim is to take rare diseases and use them as an entrance to more common ones -- that where ever science is strong and (disease) mechanisms are understood, we'll be able to make progress quite quickly, said Mark Fishman, Novartis's research chief.

Ilaris treats cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome, a rare, inherited disorder with an estimated 7,000 cases worldwide. The disorder is marked by inflammation, fever and joint pain and can result in kidney failure, deafness and death, Novartis said.