Novartis Launches Blood Cancer Drug, Jakavi®

Jakavi, the only approved oral medication for the blood cancer myelofibrosis, has been introduced in Singapore and 50 other countries.

AsianScientist (May 19, 2014) – Novartis has launched a myleofibrosis drug in Singapore and 50 other countries. Named Jakavi®, it is the first and only approved oral medication to treat patients suffering from myelofibrosis.

Myelofibrosis is an uncommon type of life-threatening blood cancer characterized by bone marrow failure, enlarged spleen and other debilitating symptoms that severely impacting the patient’s quality of life.

Studies show that patients with myelofibrosis have a median overall survival of less than six years. Prognosis of this condition is poor and treatment options are limited. Patients suffer symptoms arising from insufficient numbers of normal blood cells and chronic inflammation.

Jakavi® (INC 424, ruxolitinib) is a JAK 1 and JAK 2 inhibitor for the treatment of disease-related splenomegaly and symptoms in adult patients with myelofibrosis, including primary myelofibrosis, post-polycythemia vera myelofibrosis or post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis.

A pooled overall survival analysis of the ongoing Controlled Myelofibrosis Study with Oral JAK Inhibitor Therapy (COMFORT-I and -II) studies showed that risk of death at three years was reduced by 35 percent in patients initially randomized to treatment with Jakavi® compared to those randomized to the placebo group.

In addition, the two-year Controlled Myelofibrosis Study with Oral JAK Inhibitor Therapy showed that patients who are on the Jakavi® treatment had sustained reductions in spleen size, improved quality of life and extended overall survival compared to placebo or the best available therapy.

“Beyond patients residing in Singapore, the availability of Jakavi® – currently the only treatment to myelofibrosis – in Singapore would also benefit patients from some countries in South East Asia, where Jakavi® is currently unavailable and stem cell transplant may not be feasible,” said Dr. Daryl Tan, specialist in hematology & consultant at Raffles Cancer Center.


Source: Novartis.

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