Dec 16, 2020
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare and life-threatening blood disorder, resulting in debilitating symptoms that can impact patients’ quality of life1–3

  • C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) is a rare renal disease, affecting young patients with a poor prognosis and significant unmet need4-5

  • With potential to be the first oral treatment for a range of complement-driven diseases, complement factor B inhibitor iptacopan targets the underlying cause of these conditions through its action on the complement system’s alternative pathway6,7

  • Iptacopan is in development for PNH, as well as C3G and several other rare renal diseases including IgA nephropathy (IgAN), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), and membranous nephropathy (MN); first FDA filings anticipated in 2023

Basel, December 16, 2020 — Novartis today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted iptacopan (LNP023) Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and Rare Pediatric Disease (RPD) Designation in C3 glomerulopathy (C3G).

The breakthrough designation is intended to expedite the development and review of medicines for serious conditions to address unmet medical need, where early clinical evidence indicates a drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy on clinically significant endpoints. The FDA granted BTD to iptacopan for the treatment of PNH based on positive interim results from two ongoing Phase II studies, where iptacopan showed substantial benefits both in patients who remained anemic and dependent on transfusions despite standard of care anti-complement treatment8, as well as monotherapy in anti-C5 naïve PNH patients.

PNH is a rare and life threatening blood disorder characterized by complement-driven hemolysis, thrombosis and impaired bone marrow function9,10, resulting in anemia, fatigue and other debilitating symptoms that can impact patients’ quality of life13. Despite current standard of care – anti-C5 therapy eculizumab or ravulizumab – a large proportion of PNH patients remain anemic and dependent on transfusions1,2,9,11,12.

FDA grants the rare pediatric designation for serious or life-threatening diseases primarily affecting individuals aged 18 years or younger and impacting fewer than 200,000 people. C3G, an ultra-rare and severe form of primary glomerulonephritis4,13, is characterized by complement dysregulation. It has a poor prognosis; about 50% of patients progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) within 10 years, and 50–70% experience disease recurrence post kidney transplant14. It has a worldwide annual incidence of 1-2 per million15.

About iptacopan
Iptacopan (LNP023) is a first-in-class, orally administered, potent and highly selective factor B inhibitor of the alternative complement pathway6,7. It is currently in clinical development for PNH, as well as C3G and a number of other renal conditions with complement system involvement where significant unmet needs exist, including IgA nephropathy (IgAN), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), and membranous nephropathy (MN).

Positive Phase II data from one study in PNH were presented at the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) congress in August8, and Phase II interim analysis results in C3G were presented at the virtual 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) in October. Novartis is planning to initiate Phase III studies in several indications.  

Iptacopan has the potential to become the first complement pathway inhibitor to slow disease progression in a number of complement-driven diseases. Based on disease prevalence and the positive interim data from Phase II studies, iptacopan has also received orphan drug designations from the FDA and EMA in C3G and PNH16, as well as EMA PRIME designation for C3G17, and EMA orphan drug designation in IgAN18.

This media update contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by words such as “potential,” “can,” “will,” “plan,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “look forward,” “believe,” “committed,” “investigational,” “pipeline,” “launch,” or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential marketing approvals, new indications or labeling for the investigational or approved products described in this media update, or regarding potential future revenues from such products. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that the investigational or approved products described in this media update will be submitted or approved for sale or for any additional indications or labeling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that such products will be commercially successful in the future. In particular, our expectations regarding such products could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; global trends toward health care cost containment, including government, payor and general public pricing and reimbursement pressures and requirements for increased pricing transparency; our ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; the particular prescribing preferences of physicians and patients; general political, economic and business conditions, including the effects of and efforts to mitigate pandemic diseases such as COVID-19; safety, quality, data integrity or manufacturing issues; potential or actual data security and data privacy breaches, or disruptions of our information technology systems, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this media update as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this media update as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 110,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at

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  2. Hill A, et al. Eculizumab prevents intravascular hemolysis in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and unmasks low-level extravascular hemolysis occurring through C3 opsonization. Haematologica 2010;95(4):567–573.
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  12. Debureaux P, et al. Hematological Response to Eculizumab in Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria: Application of a Novel Classification to Identify Unmet Clinical Needs and Future Clinical Goals. Blood 2019;134(Suppl 1):3517.
  13. Smith RJH, et al. C3 glomerulopathy - understanding a rare complement-driven renal disease. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2019;15(3):129–143.
  14. Nester CM and Smith RJ. Treatment options for C3 glomerulopathy. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2013;22(2):231–237.
  15. Medjeral-Thomas NR, et al. C3 glomerulopathy: clinicopathologic features and predictors of outcome. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014;9(1):46–53.
  16. Novartis Data on File
  17. Novartis. Novartis received European Medicines Agency (EMA) PRIME designation for iptacopan (LNP) in C3 glomerulopathy (C3G). Available at: Accessed December 2020.
  18. Novartis. Novartis announces European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted orphan drug designation for iptacopan (LNP023) in IgA nephropathy (IgAN). Available at: Accessed December 2020.

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