Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO (Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Weeks af­ter earn­ing CEO's stamp of ap­proval, a No­var­tis skin drug los­es head-to-head bat­tle with stan­dard of care

With a jam-packed pipeline to parse, No­var­tis chief Vas Narasimhan has helped in­vestors out in the past by high­light­ing a few key pro­grams his team thinks could be easy win­ners. One of those drugs has now hit the skids in two late-stage tests, los­ing some of its lus­ter as a po­ten­tial cen­ter­piece med­i­cine mov­ing ahead.

No­var­tis’ lige­lizum­ab, a “high-affin­i­ty” an­ti-im­munoglob­u­lin E an­ti­body failed to beat out stan­dard-of-care Xo­lair — its own part­nered drug with Genen­tech — in two Phase III stud­ies in pa­tients with the skin dis­ease chron­ic spon­ta­neous ur­ticaria, the com­pa­ny said Mon­day.

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