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The Race to Market on Breast Cancer Drug between Novartis and Pfizer

 (Image source: Lester Lefkowitz/Stone/Getty Images)

The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) announced today that their experimental breast cancer drug (LEE011), which is in fierce competition with Pfizer Inc.’s (NYSE:PFE) drug (Palbociclib) will be entering Phase III final clinical trials next month. Pfizer’s drug is already in the Phase III testing stage. These two drugs basically do the same thing by targeting the enzymes cyclin dependent kinases four and six. The announcement today makes it more likely that these two drugs will be competing in the marketplace at the same period. According to Reuters, the projected sales of Palbociclib are expected to be $1.9 billion by 2019. The name of the game is who can get their drug to the market first. Pfizer is slightly ahead, but Norvartis is fast approaching.

Norvartis also announced a $5 billion share buyback program, which will take effect immediately.