Novartis Strongly Extends its Leading Presence in Women's Health / Key Hormone Replacement Products Sublicensed From Rhone-Poulenc Rorer

BASEL, Switzerland, and ANTONY, France, and COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (PROTEXT)

Novartis Pharma AG, the global pharmaceutical sector of the life sciences company Novartis, and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. (RPR), the global pharmaceutical subsidiary of Rhone-Poulenc S.A. (NYSE: RP) announce their signing of sublicensing agreements for the marketing of Estalis(R) (estradiol/norethisterone acetate transdermal system) and Menorest(R) (transdermal 17-beta- estradiol), two hormone replacement systems for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and for the prevention of osteoporosis. Financial terms of the agreements are not disclosed. "This transaction is strategic for Novartis on two counts," said Jerry Karabelas, Head of Novartis Healthcare and CEO of Novartis Pharma AG. "First, it significantly builds our leading franchise in women's health with an excellent product fit that extends the versatility of our offer to doctors and patients across a broad spectrum of hormone replacement therapy needs. Secondly, it reflects our stated aim of adding to top line growth through greater emphasis on licensing activity." Under the terms of the agreements Novartis will acquire exclusive marketing rights to the products in Europe and other world markets, and assume ownership of the products and related assets, in these territories. RPR will continue to market Estalis(R) under the registered trade name CombiPatch(R) (estradiol/norethindrone acetate transdermal system) in the US, and will continue the development of Estalis(R) and Menorest(R) in Japan. Both hormone replacement systems were originally developed by Noven Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: NOVN) who licensed them exclusively to RPR, and who will continue to supply both Novartis and RPR. Novartis pioneered the transdermal hormone replacement therapy market in the 1980s, especially in combination therapy products, meeting the needs of peri and post menopausal women. By the year 2005, it is conservatively estimated that 36% of women worldwide will be aged over 50 with a potential need for alleviation of distressing menopausal symptoms that compromise quality of life. Such symptoms include disturbed sleep, memory loss, skin atrophy, and brittle bones. Novartis is a world leader in Life Sciences with core businesses in Healthcare, Agribusiness and Consumer Health (Nutrition and Self-Medication). In 1998, Novartis Group sales were CHF 31.7 billion, of which CHF 17.5 billion were in Healthcare, CHF 8.4 billion in Agribusiness and CHF 5.8 billion in Consumer Health. The group annually invests more than CHF 3.7 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis employs about 82,000 people and operates in over 140 countries around the world. Rhone-Poulenc Rorer is a global pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving human health. Rhone-Poulenc S.A. (NYSE: RP) is a leading life sciences company, growing through innovations in human, plant and animal health and through its specialty chemicals subsidiary, Rhodia. With sales in 1998 of FF86.8 billion (US$14.8 billion; Euros 13.2 billion), the company employs 65,000 people in 160 countries worldwide. The RPR Internet web site is at ots Original Text Service: Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. Internet: Contact: Nerys Wadham of Novartis, 41 61 324 2440; or Terri Pedone, 610-454-8284, or Karen Scott, 33-1- 55-71-7622, both of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Web site: http://www.rp-

Klíčová slova PROTEXT-Novartis Pharma AG

USA, Kanada, OSN, svět a Arktida (us)


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