In a move that could impact the revenues of two of the largest
pharmaceutical majors, Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb decided to p ull out a crucial
drug, Zelmac, from the approval process in Europe. Zelmac was a treatment for irritable
bowel movement that was being developed by both companies and for which they had entered
into an agreement for sharing sales.
The withdrawal of the drug from the European
regulators is understood to be the result of a disagreement between the two companies over
clinical results. However, Zelmac is still expected to be cleared soon by the drug
regulators in the US, the worlds largest market for the drug.
The Swiss company, Novartis, has stated that
it would study all options for resubmitting the drug for approval in Europe.
For Bristol this news comes as yet another
disappointment as it battles ebbing investor confidence. The company recently announced
that it would divest its non-drug businesses in an attempt to concentrate on the
faster-growing pharmaceutical business. With its own
laboratories being unable to churn out new drugs in pace with the companys rivals,
Bristol had entered into an marketing alliance with Novartis on Zelmac. The company also
suffered another blow in March this year when the US regulators rejected a cancer drug
being developed by the company.