Apr 05, 2022
  • Phase 3 ASCLEPIOS I/II trials and the ALITHIOS open-label extension demonstrated the efficacy and safety of continuous Kesimpta® (ofatumumab) treatment and in those switched from teriflunomide, with no new safety risks identified over the treatment period1,2,3
  • Data showed that continuous treatment with Kesimpta for up to four years was associated with fewer relapses as well as reduced risk of three-month and six-month confirmed disability worsening and less lesion activity versus those who switched1
  • Interim analysis data from the ongoing KYRIOS open-label, prospective study showed that people living with relapsing multiple sclerosis vaccinated during stable Kesimpta treatment can mount an immune response to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, as soon as one week after initial vaccination4   
  • An analysis of injection-related reactions associated with subcutaneous administration of Kesimpta showed they were 99% mild to moderate in severity, with no life-threatening reactions5

Basel, April 5, 2022 — Novartis today announced new long-term data from the Phase 3 ASCLEPIOS I/II trials and the ALITHIOS open-label extension that demonstrated long-term efficacy and safety of Kesimpta® (ofatumumab), with continued reduced risk of disability worsening, for people living with relapsing multiple sclerosis following up to four years of treatment1. Kesimpta maintained a similar safety profile as seen in the pivotal Phase 3 trials up to four years of treatment, with no new safety risks identified over the treatment period1,2. The data will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting being held on April 2–7, 2022 in Seattle, USA and virtually on April 24–26, 2022.

In addition to demonstrating efficacy up to four years of continuous treatment with Kesimpta, participants who switched from teriflunomide to Kesimpta in the extension phase demonstrated pronounced reductions in relapses and MRI lesions. In those receiving Kesimpta for up to four years, immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels remained stable and mean immunoglobulin M (IgM) levels decreased yet remained above the lower limit of normal, and no association between Ig levels and serious infection was observed. The overall rates of adverse events (AEs), serious AEs and overall rate of serious infections were consistent with those observed in the Phase 3 ASCLEPIOS I/II trials and did not increase with treatment up to four years despite the COVID-19 pandemic1,6.

Data from the ongoing KYRIOS open-label, prospective study showed that people living with multiple sclerosis on Kesimpta can mount an immune response to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine4. All participants in the study who were vaccinated during continuous Kesimpta treatment developed an immune response as soon as one week after initial vaccination. Immune response in participants who received a booster during treatment was similar to those who received a booster before treatment. In a study examining injection-related reactions (IRRs) associated with subcutaneous administration of Kesimpta in the ALITHIOS trial and from post-marketing reports, IRRs were mostly mild to moderate in severity (99%) with no medically confirmed fatal or life-threatening IRRs identified with Kesimpta5. These findings were consistent with those from the Phase 3 ASCLEPIOS I/II trials6.

“We are pleased to share long-term data of up to four years that support Kesimpta as an efficacious and well-tolerated, first-choice option for people living with relapsing multiple sclerosis. The sustained reductions in disability progression and lesion activity observed in those receiving continuous Kesimpta versus those who switched later from teriflunomide highlight the value of earlier treatment initiation with Kesimpta,” said Lykke Hinsch Gylvin, Neuroscience Global Medical Franchise Head, Novartis Pharmaceuticals. “In addition to these safety and efficacy data, we have presented findings that suggest people taking Kesimpta can mount an immune response to COVID-19 vaccination. During this pandemic, it is critical for people living with multiple sclerosis to have access to safe and efficacious treatments that do not interfere with their vaccine doses. Novartis is committed to continued research in multiple sclerosis with regards to COVID-19 vaccination and these data mark an additional milestone in this commitment.”

About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by myelin destruction and axonal damage in the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord7. MS, which affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide8, can be characterized into four main types: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting (RRMS), secondary progressive (SPMS) and primary progressive (PPMS)9.The various forms of MS can be distinguished based on whether a patient experiences relapses (clearly defined acute inflammatory attacks of worsening neurological function), and/or whether they experience progression of neurologic damage and disability from the onset of the disease10.

About Kesimpta® (ofatumumab)
Kesimpta is a targeted, precisely dosed and delivered B-cell therapy that provides the flexibility of self-administration for adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS). It is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (mAb) self-administered by a once-monthly injection, delivered subcutaneously11,12. Initial doses of Kesimpta are at Weeks 0, 1 and 2, with the first injection performed under the guidance of a healthcare professional. As shown in preclinical studies, Kesimpta is thought to work by binding to a distinct epitope on the CD20 molecule inducing potent B-cell lysis and depletion13. The selective mechanism of action and subcutaneous administration of Kesimpta allows precise delivery to the lymph nodes, where B-cell depletion in MS is needed, and preclinical studies have shown that it may preserve the B-cells in the spleen14. Once-monthly dosing of Kesimpta differs from other anti-CD20 therapies as it allows faster repletion of B-cells, offering more flexibility in MS management10. Ofatumumab was originally developed by Genmab and licensed to GlaxoSmithKline. Novartis obtained rights for ofatumumab from GlaxoSmithKline in all indications, including RMS, in December 201515.

Kesimpta has been approved for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis in the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Albania, and India.

Novartis in Neuroscience
At Novartis Neuroscience, we have been tackling neurological conditions for more than 80 years, launching transformative treatments which have made meaningful differences to millions of people worldwide. We continue to collaborate on industry-leading treatments in multiple sclerosis, pediatric neurology, neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatry because we know through innovation, partnership and community engagement early on, we can improve the standard of care.

To ensure patients everywhere can benefit from these life-changing therapies, we work closely with key stakeholders across the world to ensure rapid and sustainable access to our medicines, with the aim of providing the widest choice of treatments for each person’s unique journey.

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 108,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at https://www.novartis.com.

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at https://twitter.com/novartisnews
For Novartis multimedia content, please visit https://www.novartis.com/news/media-library
For questions about the site or required registration, please contact [email protected]


  1. Hauser SL, Cross AH, Winthrop K, et al. Long-term Safety of Ofatumumab in Patients With Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. Oral presentation at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2022; April 2–7, 2022; Seattle, WA.
  2. Hauser SL, Fox E, Aungst A, et al. Long-term Efficacy of Ofatumumab in Patients With Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. Poster presentation at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2022; April 2–7, 2022; Seattle, WA.
  3. Seifer G, Dominguez-Castro P, Pike J, et al. Risk Perception in Multiple Sclerosis: Reasons for Switching Treatment Between High Efficacy and Non-high Efficacy Disease-modifying Therapies. Poster presentation at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2022; April 2–7, 2022; Seattle, WA.
  4. Ziemssen T, Ettle B, Groth M, Bopp T. Tracking the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in an open-label multicenter study in participants with relapsing multiple sclerosis treated with ofatumumab s.c. (KYRIOS clinical trial). Poster presentation at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2022; April 2–7, 2022; Seattle, WA.
  5. Kramer J, Pingili R, Zielman R, et al. Injection-Related Reactions with Subcutaneous Administration of Ofatumumab in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis: Data from Clinical Studies and Post Marketing Experience. Poster presentation at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2022; April 2–7, 2022; Seattle, WA.
  6. Hauser SL, Bar-Or A, Cohen JA, et al. Ofatumumab versus Teriflunomide in Multiple Sclerosis. N Engl J Med. 2020;383(6):546–557.
  7. Guthrie E. Multiple sclerosis: a primer and update. Adv Studies Pharm. 2007;4(11):313–317.
  8. Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Atlas of MS 2013. Mapping Multiple Sclerosis Around the World. Available from: http://www.msif.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Atlas-of-MS.pdf [Last accessed: March 2022].
  9. National MS Society. Types of MS. Available from: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS [Last accessed: March 2022].
  10. Kesimpta Prescribing Information. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; August 2020.
  11. Bar-Or A, Fox E, Goodyear A, et al. Onset of B-cell depletion with subcutaneous administration of ofatumumab in relapsing multiple sclerosis: results from the APLIOS bioequivalence study. Poster presentation at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum; February 27–29, 2020; West Palm Beach, FL.
  12. Smith P, Kakarieka A, Wallstroem E. Ofatumumab is a fully human anti-CD20 antibody achieving potent B-cell depletion through binding a distinct epitope. Poster presentation at the European Committee for Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) Congress; September 14–17, 2016; London, UK.
  13. Smith P, Huck C, Wegert V, et al. Low-dose, subcutaneous anti-CD20 therapy effectively depletes B-cells and ameliorates CNS autoimmunity. Poster presentation at ECTRIMS; September 14–17, 2016; London, UK.
  14. Savelieva M, Kahn J, Bagger M, et al. Comparison of the B-cell recovery time following discontinuation of anti-CD20 therapies. ePoster presentation at ECTRIMS; October 25–28, 2017; Paris, FR.
  15. Genmab Press Release: Genmab announces completion of agreement to transfer remaining ofatumumab rights. December 21, 2015. Available from: https://ir.genmab.com/static-files/9d491b72-bb0b-4e46-a792-dee6c29aaf7d [Last accessed: March 2022].

# # #

Novartis Media Relations
E-mail: [email protected]

Amy Wolf
Novartis External Communications
+41 79 576 07 23
[email protected]


Julie Masow
Novartis US External Communications
+1 862 579 8456
[email protected]
Meghan O’Donnell
Novartis Global Pharma Communications
+41 79 797 9102
[email protected]

Novartis Investor Relations
Central investor relations line: +41 61 324 7944
E-mail: [email protected]

Central North America 
Samir Shah+41 61 324 7944Sloan Simpson+1 862 778 5052
Nicole Zinsli-Somm           +41 61 324 3809Alina Levchuk+1 862 778 3372
Isabella Zinck+41 61 324 7188Parag Mahanti+1 973 876 4912