Novartis and Partners Discontinue Development of Two Drugs
Novartis AG has announced today that it will discontinue the development of a potential Hepatitis C treatment known as Zalbin in the United States and an antifungal drug known as Mycograb which would have treated a common yeast infection in adults known as candidiasis.
Zalbin, known in Europe as Joulferon, was pulled because Novartis and partner Human Genome Sciences expressed concerns that it would not pass regulatory authority reviews. The companies had received a “complete response letter” from the US Food and Drug Administration requesting more information and citing dosing concerns.
Zalbin is a compound known as albinterferon alfa-2B which has antiviral activity against the Hepatitis C virus. The FDA had safety concerns about the proposed 900-microgram, twice monthly dosage.
Novartis will also discontinue Mycograb, also known as efungumab, a human recombinant antibody fragment used for Candida fungal infections, including C. albicans, C. krusei, C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata. It was intended to be used in combination with a common treatment for yeast infections called fluconazole for adult patients with invasive candidiasis.
Novartis said that despite the latest drug discontinuation, its "strategic focus remains on differentiated products and agents most likely to address unmet patient need."