May 31, 2006

U.S. approves Novartis copycat drug Omnitrope

ZURICH (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have approved copycat
drug Omnitrope, a human growth hormone, made by a unit of
Novartis, a significant move for the Swiss drugmaker, according
to analyst reports.

"This approval marks a milestone for the generics
division," said Bank Vontobel in a research note.

The drug is a generic version of Pfizer's human growth
hormone Genotropin and Serono's Saizen. It is made by Sandoz,
the generics specialist division of Novartis, and is already
approved in Australia and the European Union.

Novartis declined to comment.