Novartis drug appears effective in liver transplant patients


EAST HANOVER, N.J. — An experimental drug therapy under development by Novartis for liver transplant patients appears to provide similar efficacy and better kidney function, compared with a drug made by Astellas Pharma, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial.

A phase-3 study published in the American Journal of Transplantation found that patients taking RAD001 (everolimus) with a reduced dose of Astellas' Prograf (tacrolimus) experienced equal efficacy and superior kidney function to patients taking Prograf alone.

Novartis markets everolimus for various cancers and for kidney transplant patients under the trade names Afinitor and Zortress, respectively. The drug has not received Food and Drug Administration approval for liver transplant patients, which is why Novartis is using the code name RAD001 for the study, the company said.

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