Novartis' 'breakthrough' muscle drug is worth $4B, if you ask MorphoSys

Novartis ($NVS) is making its way into late-stage studies for the orphan drug bimagrumab, and codeveloper MorphoSys said sales of the muscle-growing treatment could peak at $4 billion a year. The drug, aka BYM338, is under development for a rare, muscle-wasting disease called sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM), but MorphoSys CEO Simon Moroney told investors that the intravenous therapy's potential in COPD, cancer cachexia and sarcopenia could dial up its earnings potential, Bloomberg reports. The treatment is designed to spur muscle development by blocking natural ligands like myostatin and activin, and the FDA applied its breakthrough therapy designation to its sIBM indication last year, one of Novartis' three such wins in 2013. Novartis tapped MorphoSys' antibody library to discover the drug, part of a 10-year agreement between the two that could pay out more than $1 billion to the latter in clinical milestones and commercial royalties, according to MorphoSys. Article

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