Late Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrated granted approval to a Aubagio, a drug designed to combat multiple sclerosis, developed by Sanofi (NYSE:SNY).
Company officials said Aubagio would become available in the U.S. within weeks, with treatment priced at about $45,000 a year. In testing, the drug has been noted to reduce multiple sclerosis relapses by about 30%, Reuters noted.
At that price, the pill is 28% less expensive than Gilenya, a pill developed by Novartis (NYSE:NVS). Other multiple sclerosis treatments currently available include inject-able medications Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA) and Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB).
However, experts noted that Aubagio is also consider less effective than competing treatments, but also has less severe side effects.
The worldwide market for multiple sclerosis treatments is expected to expand to about $14 billion annually by 2014. Analysts forecast Aubagio to garner about $400 million in annual sales.
That low forecast may explain why Sanofi shares slipped slightly in early Thursday trading, despite news of the drug approval.