Novartis enters good cholesterol drug race
The development project has Novartis on a collision course with Pfizer and Roche as both companies move to develop drugs to increase HDL levels in patients.
Analysts have said Pfizer's experimental drug could become the biggest drug ever if it works. The company is spending an estimated $800 million for late stage trials of the drug, called torcetrapib. Pfizer plans to market torcetrapib in combination with its best-selling blockbuster Lipitor.
Novartis' medicine, code named D-4F, comes largely out of research conducted by doctors from the University of California at Los Angeles, who have named their biotech company Bruin after the UCLA mascot. Because Bruin is closely held, financial terms of the licensing deal have not been disclosed.