Lucentis, a drug against the eye disease macular degeneration has approval in China, Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis said Wednesday.
Novartis said in a statement it received approval from China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) for the drug, used in treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a neovascular eye disease that can cause vision loss in those aged over 50.
"There is a huge unmet need for neovacular AMD patients in China and we have been waiting for the Lucentis approval here since it was first launched in the United States in 2006," said Professor Xiaoxin Li, Chairman of the China Fundus Society quoted in the statement.
Lucentis is a drug co-developed by Novartis and rival Roche. Its US subsidiary Genentech has the commercial rights for the United States, while Novartis holds them for the rest of the world.
Novartis also announced the launch in China of Galvus, an oral treatment for people with type 2 diabetes, which is already available on the market.
The number of people with diabetes has nearly quadrupled in recent years, making China the country with the largest population of adults having this chronic disease, noted the group.
Some 75 million people suffer from type 2 diabetes in China, Novartis said.