Novartis International AG: Alcon receives positive NICE recommendation for Jetrea® to treat eligible patients with

  Novartis International AG: Alcon receives positive NICE recommendation for
  Jetrea® to treat eligible patients with vitreomacular traction, including
                                 macular hole

Novartis International AG / Alcon receives positive NICE recommendation for
Jetrea® to treat eligible patients with vitreomacular traction, including
macular hole . Processed and transmitted by Thomson Reuters ONE. The issuer is
solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

  *One-time single eye injection of Jetrea^® recognized as clinically and
    cost-effective treatment for eligible patients with vitreomacular
    traction, including macular hole
  *Jetrea^® is the first and only approved pharmacological treatment in the
    UK for this sight-threatening condition
  *Vitreomacular traction with macular hole is an age-related eye condition
    that can cause loss of vision and impaired quality of life 

Basel, October 23, 2013  - Alcon, the  global leader in  eye care, and  second 
largest division  of Novartis,  is  pleased that  the National  Institute  for 
Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Jetrea^® (ocriplasmin) as  a 
clinically and cost-effective treatment option for eligible patients suffering
from vitreomacular traction including when associated with macular hole.  With 
this final  NICE guidance,  Jetrea^® is  now recommended  for use  within  the 
National Health  Service (NHS)  in England  and Wales  as the  first and  only 
pharmacological treatment for this sight-threatening eye condition.

"We  are  very  pleased  by  the  NICE  decision,  as  Jetrea^®  represents  a 
breakthrough treatment option for patients in the UK, which is now recommended
for use in the NHS," said Stuart Raetzman, Area President Europe, Middle  East 
and Africa, Alcon.  "At Alcon,  we aim  to deliver  positive patient  outcomes 
through innovative medicines and medical devices. We work closely with doctors
and health care providers to shape the future of eye care and offer  solutions 
to address unmet patient needs."

Vitreomacular traction and macular  hole is an age-related,  sight-threatening 
condition   that    may    lead    to   visual    distortion    and    central 
blindness.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5]Up to now,  the clinical  approach for  treating 
vitreomacular traction has been 'watchful waiting,' meaning patients undergo a
period of  observation before  they become  eligible for  eye surgery  due  to 
worsening of their condition.  Due to the  potential risks and  complications, 
surgery is  mostly reserved  for  patients who  are  heavily impacted  by  the 
symptoms of vitreomacular traction.

"People affected by vitreomacular traction can suffer vision changes that have
a significant  impact on  their  lives, making  it  difficult to  do  everyday 
activities like reading, watching TV  and driving." said Tim Jackson,  Retinal 
Surgeon at King's  College Hospital.  "Until now,  eye doctors  have only  had 
surgical options to treat this disease, once it progressed to a severe  stage. 
This new treatment is a welcome  advance, meaning some patients can now  avoid 
surgery, and others who might not be suitable for surgery can now be treated."

Jetrea^® was approved in March 2013 by the EU Commission for the treatment  of 
vitreomacular traction, in adults, including when associated with macular hole
of less than or equal to 400 microns.[6] In the UK, NICE recommended  Jetrea^® 
to treat  patients suffering  from vitreomacular  traction, including  macular 
hole of less  than or  equal to  400 microns  when an  epiretinal membrane  is 
absent, or adults  with vitreomacular  traction and severe  symptoms, when  an 
epiretinal membrane and macular hole are both absent.[7]

It is delivered  as a single,  once-only injection into  the eye, and  studies 
showed that  within  28 days,  in  approximately  one out  of  four  patients, 
Jetrea^® successfully resolved vitreomacular  adhesion. In addition, over  40% 
of patients treated with  Jetrea^® achieved closure of  a macular hole by  day 

Alcon acquired the rights  to commercialize Jetrea^® outside  the US from  the 
Belgian biopharmaceutical company, ThromboGenics, which retains the rights  to 
commercialize the drug in  the US. In October  2012, Jetrea^® was licensed  in 
the US for the treatment of patients with symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion.

About vitreomacular traction, including macular hole
As people get  older, the vitreous  (jelly-like material inside  the eye  that 
helps maintain  the  round shape)  detaches  naturally from  the  retina  (the 
light-sensitive layer of tissue located at the back of the eyeball).  However, 
in some  cases,  the  vitreous  remains  attached  to  areas  of  the  retina, 
particularly at the  macula (the area  of the retina  responsible for  central 
vision needed  for everyday  tasks such  as driving,  reading and  recognizing 
faces). This is  known as  vitreomacular adhesion. If  left unresolved,  these 
areas of vitreomacular adhesion can exert  a 'pulling force' on the macula,  a 
condition  known  as  vitreomacular   traction.  Vitreomacular  traction   may 
eventually lead  to  the formation  of  a hole  in  the macula  and  is  often 
responsible  for  progressive,  sight-threatening  symptoms  and  irreversible 
vision loss.  Risk factors  for vitreomacular  traction and  macular hole  are 
undetermined, meaning anyone can be affected as they age.[9]

The  foregoing  release  contains  forward-looking  statements  that  can   be 
identified by terminology  such as  "positive recommendation,"  "recommended," 
"aim," "shape the future," "expect,"  "potential," or similar expressions,  or 
by express  or implied  discussions regarding  potential additional  marketing 
approvals or recommendations for Jetrea or regarding potential future revenues
from Jetrea. You  should not place  undue reliance on  these statements.  Such 
forward-looking statements reflect the  current views of management  regarding 
future events, and involve  known and unknown  risks, uncertainties and  other 
factors that may cause actual results  with Jetrea to be materially  different 
from any future results, performance  or achievements expressed or implied  by 
such statements. There can  be no guarantee that  Jetrea will be approved  for 
sale in any additional markets,  or at any particular  time. Nor can there  be 
any guarantee that Jetrea will achieve any particular levels of  reimbursement 
or revenue in the future.  In particular, management's expectations  regarding 
Jetrea could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions
or delays  or  government  regulation  generally;  unexpected  clinical  trial 
results, including  unexpected new  clinical  data and  unexpected  additional 
analysis of existing  clinical data; government,  industry and general  public 
pricing pressures; competition  in general;  unexpected manufacturing  issues; 
the company's  ability  to obtain  or  maintain patent  or  other  proprietary 
intellectual property protection;  and the impact  that the foregoing  factors 
could have  on  the values  attributed  to  the Novartis  Group's  assets  and 
liabilities as recorded in the  Group's consolidated balance sheet, and  other 
risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file  with 
the US Securities and Exchange Commission.  Should one or more of these  risks 
or  uncertainties  materialize,   or  should   underlying  assumptions   prove 
incorrect,  actual  results  may  vary  materially  from  those   anticipated, 
believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this
press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to  update 
any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result  of 
new information,  future  events  or  otherwise.  Jetrea  is  a  trademark  of 
ThromboGenics NV, licensed to Alcon.

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving
needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis
offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines,
eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and
diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the
only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2012, the Group
achieved net sales of USD 56.7 billion, while R&D throughout the Group
amounted to approximately USD 9.3 billion (USD 9.1 billion excluding
impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ
approximately 133,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than
140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

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[1] Carpineto P, Di Antonio L, Aharrh-Gnama A, et al. Diagnosing and Treating
    Vitreomacular Adhesion. Retina 2011 69-73.
[2] Hikichi T, Yoshida A, Trempe C. Course of vitreomacular traction syndrome.
    Am J Ophthalmol. 1995;119(1):55-61.
[3] Bottós, Juliana, et al. Vitreomacular Traction Syndrome. Journal of
    Opthalmalic and Vision Research. 2012;7(2):148-161.
[4] Jaffe NS. Vitreous traction at the posterior pole of the fundus due to
    alterations in the vitreous posterior. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol
    Otolaryngol. 1967;71(4):642-652.
[5] Johnson MW. Perifoveal vitreous detachment and its macular complications.
    Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2005;103:537-567.
[6] Jetrea^® Summary of Product Characteristics. ThromboGenics NV. Belgium;
    March 2013.
[7] NICE. Ocriplasmin for treating vitreomacular traction. NICE technology
    appraisal guidance 297. October 2013.
[8] Stalmans P, Benz MS, Gandorfer A, et al. Enzymatic vitreolysis with
    ocriplasmin for vitreomacular traction and macular holes. N Engl J Med
[9] Steidl S,Hartnett ME. Clinical Pathways In Vitreoretinal Disease

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