NovartisSandoz has announced the introduction of tacrolimus capsules, a generic equivalent of Prograf®, in the US. Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressive treatment used to help prevent rejection of a kidney or liver transplant.

Sandoz is the first and only company to launch generic tacrolimus in the US, delivering on its strategy of being first-to-market with key products. With the introduction of tacrolimus, Sandoz is expanding patient access to cost-saving transplant treatment options in the US.

"Tacrolimus is an important new product for Sandoz, further strengthening our diverse portfolio of affordable medicines in the key US market," said Jeff George, CEO of Sandoz.

"Sandoz is excited to be the first company to offer this new high-quality, affordable treatment option to transplant patients. Sandoz and our parent company Novartis have deep experience in the transplant field and we are deeply committed to providing more cost-saving treatment options for this community in the future."

Novartis pioneered medicines to facilitate transplantation with the discovery over 25 years ago of cyclosporine (Sandimmune® / cyclosporine USP) and Neoral® (cyclosporine USP MODIFIED), for the prevention of organ rejection following kidney, liver or heart transplantation.

Today, Novartis has the broadest portfolio of immunosuppressants on the market, including Myfortic® (mycophenolic acid) delayed-release tablets, indicated for kidney transplants, and Simulect® (basiliximab), for the prevention of acute organ rejection. The addition of Sandoz tacrolimus will further increase the breadth of this portfolio.

According to IMS Health, Prograf had US sales of USD 929 million for the 12 months through April 2009. Sandoz will market tacrolimus in capsules of 0.5, 1 and 5 mg strengths.

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Division of the Novartis group, is a global leader in the field of generic pharmaceuticals, offering a wide array of high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of about 1000 compounds and sells its products in more than 130 countries. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these medicines along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany) and Eon Labs (US). In 2008, Sandoz employed around 23,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 7.6 billion.