FDA approves Odomza from Novartis for increasingly common skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma

Markets Associated Press

A new drug for advanced basal cell carcinoma, an increasingly common cancer in the skin's top layer, has won Food and Drug Administration approval.

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Odomza (pronounced ah-DOMM'-zoh) was approved for patients whose cancer hasn't spread to other body parts, but recurred after surgery or radiation therapy or can't be cured by those treatments.

The drug, known chemically as sonidegib (seh-NEH'-deh-gib), is a daily pill developed by Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG, which has U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey.

It can stop or reduce growth of cancerous lesions by suppressing a key molecular pathway. Side effects include muscle spasms and damage, hair loss, nausea, diarrhea and, in pregnant women, risk of death or birth defects in the fetus.

Novartis hasn't disclosed the drug's price, but will launch it soon.