During a recent interview with Fortune, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez explained the company's drug development strategy. He reported that Novartis isn’t targeting blockbuster indications but are more focused on pathways, as reported in Fierce Biotech.
By pursuing a particular disease pathway with a drug designed to treat a rare disease, Novartis improves its chances at gaining an approval from regulators, globally, says the CEO. Once it receives initial approval, it then expands on the treatment label by adding a more common disease that is affected by the same pathway.
"A good example of this is Ilaris, which is for a rare set of autoimmune diseases called cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome," Jimenez told Fortune. "I think there are only 6,000 patients globally with this disease. But the mechanism, the pathway of this disease, is the same pathway that is prevalent in gout. And there are 3 million patients with acute gout. We have developed the drug in gout and we're awaiting FDA approval for this compound. This is a perfect example of how you would have multiple indications for the same drug and that's the way the drug would become--let's say, a blockbuster. Not that Ilaris will become a blockbuster but there will be multiple indications and multiple diseases through this fundamentally different approach."