Novartis wins the 2007 Belleau-Nickerson Award for the cancer drug (Pr)Gleevec*



    DORVAL, QC, Nov. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
has been honoured with the 2007 Belleau-Nickerson Award for Gleevec(*),
presented at the Prix Galien gala ceremony in Montreal late last week. This
award recognizes the therapeutic, social and economic contribution of a drug
product marketed in the past 10 years.
    Approved for use in Canada in 2001, Gleevec(*) is the first cancer
treatment to be developed with rational drug design, based on a better
understanding of how cancer cells work. Gleevec(*) is currently indicated for
the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), including pediatric patients
in 1st Line CML. Gleevec(*) is also approved to treat gastro-intestinal stromal
tumours (GIST), as well as Philadelphia-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
(Ph+ALL). The drug also addresses the genetic malfunction that is present in
these conditions.
    Taken as a simple daily pill, it has brought dramatic remissions with
mild to moderate side effects, where 90% of CML patients are still alive at
five years. Unlike traditional agents, which attack not only cancerous cells,
but healthy ones as well, Gleevec(*) works by selectively targeting
disease-specific cellular abnormalities.
    "We are proud of this award and the enormous contributions Gleevec has
made in the fight against cancer," says David Meek, President. "Chronic
myeloid leukemia, Philadelphia-positive Acute Leukemia and gastro-intestinal
stromal tumors had left patients with little chance of long-term survival and,
in many cases, they had resulted in early death. Now, with Gleevec, 90 per
cent of CML patients are still living after five years, which is a significant
improvement in the treatment of the disease."
    Gleevec is the only drug marketed in its class with long-term data to
show increasing rates of responses with a decreasing rate of disease
progression in 1st Line CML. In fact, only 1% of patients on Gleevec have
progressed to advanced disease after 5 years. In addition, Gleevec offers
patients an excellent tolerability profile. In 1st Line CML, side effects
actually decrease with continued Gleevec therapy, and cause discontinuation in
only 4.2% of patients over 5 years.

    About Prix Galien and the Belleau-Nickerson award

    Prix Galien is an annual award that recognizes and promotes
pharmaceutical research and innovation. It was established in 1970 by French
pharmacist Roland Mehl and has since expanded to numerous countries around the
world, specifically Canada in 1994.
    The Prix Galien's Belleau-Nickerson Award is strictly Canadian and is
named after two eminent researchers who left their mark on pioneering research
in Canada - Dr. Bernard Belleau and Dr. Mark Nickerson. The Belleau-Nickerson
Award is selected by a jury of the deans of pharmacy faculties in Canada.  The
award recognizes the therapeutic, social and economic contribution of a drug
product marketed in the past 10 years.
    In 2003, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. won the Prix Galien's Most
Innovative Product award in Canada for Gleevec(*).

    About Novartis Canada

    Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field,
is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative
products to improve the well-being of all Canadians.  Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Canada Inc.  conducts hundreds of clinical trials across the country seeking
new treatments for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, ophthalmology and
organ transplantation. In 2006, the Company invested over $69 million in
research and development.  Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs more
than 850 people in Canada and its headquarters are located in Dorval, Quebec. 
In addition to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., the Novartis Group in
Canada consists of Novartis Animal Health Canada Inc., Novartis Consumer
Health Canada Inc., (including Novartis Nutrition Corporation) CIBA VISION
Canada Inc. and Sandoz Canada Inc.  For further information about Novartis
Canada, please consult http://www.novartis.ca.

    About Novartis

    Novartis AG (NYSE:   NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to
protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover,
develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease
suffering and enhance the quality of life. We are strengthening our
medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in
innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics, human
vaccines and leading self-medication OTC brands. Novartis is the only company
with leadership positions in these areas. In 2006, the Group's businesses
achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion.
Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel,
Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 101,000 associates
and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information,
please visit http://www.novartis.com.


    (*)Gleevec is a registered trademark




For further information:

For further information: Jason Jacobs, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada
Inc., (514) 633-7872 (direct), jason.jacobs@novartis.com

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