Novartis may launch Exforge in wake of Norvasc patent loss

Novartis is considering moving up the launch of its hypertension drug Exforge in the US, after a federal appeals court invalidated a patent covering Pfizer's Norvasc, Bloomberg reports. Exforge, which is a combination of Norvasc and Novartis' Diovan, was originally scheduled to be launched in September once Pfizer's patent for Norvasc expired.

John Gilardi, a Novartis spokesperson, confirmed that the company is "reviewing the situation." The spokesperson added that Novartis will stop paying royalties to Pfizer for hypertension drug Lotrel, which combines Norvasc and Novartis' Lotensin.

"Novartis could launch Exforge sooner and cement its dominance of the US hypertension market," commented UBS analyst David Beadle. Karl Heinz Koch, a Bank Vontobel analyst, anticipates that Exforge will enter the market "four to five months ahead of time."

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