Enhanced Novantrone.com Site Provides Information, Data and Resources for MS Community
Dec. 15, 2003
SOURCE Serono, Inc.
Serono, Inc., the marketer of Novantrone(R) (mitoxantrone for injection concentrate) in the United States for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) indication, announces the launch of Novantrone.com, a valuable online resource for US-based patients with worsening MS, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals. This new web site provides access to comprehensive information about the disease, treatment with Novantrone(R), common questions, therapy considerations, as well as resources and tools to help patients and their physicians make important treatment and disease management decisions.
Novantrone.com's user-friendly site design allows for easy navigation for both patients and healthcare providers. The site's patient portal offers relevant information for people with worsening MS to better understand their progressing disease so that they can work with their physician to identify when treatment with Novantrone(R) might be the right choice for them. Novantrone.com's professional portal offers healthcare professionals important information on when to use Novantrone(R), the efficacy and safety of the therapy, dosing and monitoring, as well as information on reimbursement services.
"As the only company in the US to offer a treatment indicated for worsening MS, Serono is making it easier for people with worsening MS, their care partners and healthcare professionals to find important treatment and disease management information online," said James Pusey, M.D., Executive Vice President of Neurology at Serono, Inc. "With Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a) and Novantrone(R), Serono has a portfolio of MS products to treat both relapsing forms of MS and worsening MS, and now we have an expanded online presence to support both of these products."
Novantrone.com links directly to http://www.mslifelines.com, a comprehensive educational support service for people with multiple sclerosis that offers a wide range of resources to help both patients and families conquer some of the challenges associated with MS.
Novantrone(R) is the first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat worsening forms of MS. Novantrone(R) is indicated for reducing neurologic disability and/or the frequency of clinical relapses in patients with secondary progressive, progressive relapsing, and worsening relapsing-remitting MS. While most drugs for MS target the immune system, Novantrone(R) is an immunosuppressive drug and the only approved drug that works by directly disrupting or killing cells that attack the brain and spinal cord.
Novantrone(R) is not indicated for primary progressive MS. Novantrone(R) is not recommended for MS patients with a certain blood cell count, liver function test, or cardiac abnormalities; or for women who plan to become or are pregnant. Monitoring must be performed prior to and during treatment. There is a risk of developing secondary acute myelogenous leukemia associated with its use. For Novantrone(R) Prescribing Information and full disclosure of important safety information, including dosing and administration precautions, visit http://www.novantrone.com.
Novantrone(R) was approved by the FDA for MS indications in October 2000, and has also been approved for certain oncology indications since 1987. In November 2002, Serono signed a license and commercialization agreement with Amgen to commercialize Novantrone(R) in the United States. In March 2003, OSI Pharmaceuticals signed an agreement with Serono to promote Novantrone(R) for the approved oncology indications in the United States.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressive disease of the central nervous system and is the most common neurological disease causing disability in young adults. The disease affects an estimated 400,000 Americans, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals. The onset of MS usually occurs between 20 and 40 years of age, and is twice as common in women than men.
While not all people with MS have the same symptoms, common symptoms include fatigue, loss of balance, bladder and bowel problems, spasticity, pain, sexual dysfunction, vision problems, forgetfulness/mood disorders and tingling/numbness.
Caucasians, primarily those of Northern European decent, are more likely to develop the disease than those of other ethnic backgrounds. MS is not considered to be a hereditary condition, although there is a higher incidence of MS among family members. This suggests that certain individuals may be genetically susceptible to the disease. The reasons for these phenomena are not yet understood.
Serono, Inc., located in Rockland, MA, is the US affiliate of Serono, a global biotechnology leader. The Company has six recombinant products on the worldwide market, Gonal-F(R) (follitropin alfa for injection), Luveris(R) (lutropin alfa), Ovidrel(R)/Ovitrelle(R) (choriogonadotropin alfa injection), Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a), Serostim(R) [somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection] and Saizen(R) [somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection]. (Luveris(R) is not approved in the USA.)(1) In addition to being the world leader in reproductive health, Serono has strong market positions in neurology, metabolism and growth. The Company's research programs are focused on growing these businesses and on establishing new therapeutic areas. Currently, there are over 30 projects in development.
Serono was awarded the International James D. Watson 2003 Helix Award from the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in recognition of the Company's outstanding leadership and highest standards of scientific and product achievement.
In 2002, Serono achieved worldwide revenues of $1.538 billion, and a net income of $321 million, making it the third largest biotech company in the world. The Company operates in 44 countries, and its products are sold in 94 countries. Bearer shares of Serono S.A., the holding company, are traded on the virt-x (SEO) and its American Depositary Shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (SRA).
Some of the statements in this press release are forward looking. Such
statements are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties
and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements
of Serono S.A. and affiliates to be materially different from those expected
or anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements
are based on Serono's current expectations and assumptions, which may be
affected by a number of factors, including those discussed in this press
release and more fully described in Serono's Annual Report on Form 20-F
filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on April 17, 2003.
These factors include any failure or delay in Serono's ability to develop
new products, any failure to receive anticipated regulatory approvals,
any problems in commercializing current products as a result of competition
or other factors, our ability to obtain reimbursement coverage for our
products, and government regulations limiting our ability to sell our products.
Serono has no responsibility to update the forward-looking statements contained
in this press release to reflect events or circumstances occurring after
the date of this press release.
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