Novartis Sees MorphoSys Muscle-Atrophy Drug as Exciting
Novartis AG (NOVN)’s Head of Development Tim Wright said the collaboration with MorphoSys AG (MOR) on the BYM338 antibody for diseases that lead to muscle atrophy is one of two projects in mid-stage trials that he’s most excited about.
Wright named the treatment, along with Novartis’s LDK378 cancer therapy, during a conference call when asked about compounds in mid-stage testing that may gain a higher profile. BYM338 blocks a substance named myostatin that is linked to muscle growth, the executive of Europe’s biggest drugmaker said on the call arranged by Tim Anderson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
“This is an enormous opportunity,” Simon Moroney, chief executive officer of German biotechnology company MorphoSys, said in an interview last week.
“Imagine the equivalent of eight or 10 weeks of exercise in one injection,” Wright said on the call.
The drug is also in testing for a rare inherited disease called sporadic inclusion body myositis, and Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis plans to expand trials for complaints such as age-related muscle wasting, Wright said. The treatment may be filed for regulatory approval in 2016, he said.
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