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Novartis announced data Monday that could set up one of the biggest marketing battles in cancer.

At issue is the market for medicines called CDK 4/6 inhibitors. The first of these drugs, Pfizer’s Ibrance, is a $5-billion-a-year product and one of that company’s top sellers. But it has been losing market share to Eli Lilly’s Verzenio.


Novartis said in a press release that its CDK 4/6, Kisqali, had succeeded in a Phase 3 trial looking at adjuvant use — that’s use after a tumor is surgically removed to prevent recurrence. Further details were not available. Novartis said more complete data would be presented at a medical meeting in the future.

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