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Novartis Muscle Drug Sales May Reach $4 Billion, Developer Says

Novartis AG’s muscle-building drug bimagrumab may reach as much as $4 billion in peak sales, according to the medicine’s co-developer.

The forecast is for the use of the treatment, known as BYM338, in all indications, according to Simon Moroney, chief executive officer of MorphoSys AG, the company that developed the drug for Novartis. He spoke yesterday at an investor event in Munich.

Novartis has said it plans to ask regulators for permission to market the drug to treat sporadic inclusion body myositis, a rare disease characterized by weakening muscles, as early as in 2016. MorphoSys will receive mid-single-digit percentage royalties on sales of the drug, Moroney said. Novartis hasn’t given a revenue estimate for the drug, Anja von Treskow, a spokeswoman for Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker said in an e-mail.

The drug is currently being tested to treat other illnesses, and the largest share of sales will probably be from ailments such as cachexia, the weight and muscle loss that’s often found in patients with illnesses such as cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Moroney said. The forecast is the result of an external estimate MorphoSys commissioned, he also said.

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