Novartis BP drug sees approval in Europe

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The European Commission approved Novartis' Rasilez (aliskiren) for use in the European Union.

The approval follows an FDA endorsement earlier this year in the US, where the drug is sold as Tekturna. It's also approved in Switzerland.

Analysts have estimated peak sales of between $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion for the Novartis pill, which was co-developed by Swiss biotech company Speedel.

When used alone, Rasilez demonstrates greater blood pressure lowering than other commonly-used blood pressure medicines, like ACE inhibitors and certain diuretics. When added to existing therapy, it provides additional blood pressure lowering, the company said in a statement.

Novartis said nearly a billion people around the world have high blood pressure, and almost 70% do not reach their blood pressure goal.

Tekturna targets renin, an enzyme responsible for triggering a process that can contribute to the condition.

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