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Novartis' Cosentyx Superior to Stelara in Psoriasis Study

Novartis AG NVS announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has approved a label update for psoriasis drug Cosentyx. The label update includes 52-week data from the CLEAR study which demonstrated the long-term superiority of Cosentyx over Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ Stelara (ustekinumab) in psoriasis.

The study revealed that Cosentyx was superior to Stelara in achieving and sustaining a PASI 90 response (76% versus 61%) and was significantly better in achieving a PASI 100 (clear skin) response (46% versus 36%) at week 52.

Psoriasis drug, Cosentyx, was also approved for the treatment of two new indications – ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) – in the EU in 2016. Moreover, the FDA approved Cosentyx for AS and PsA in Jan 2016.  The uptake of

Cosentyx has been strong and the company has grabbed market shares from rivals AbbVie’s ABBV Humira and Amgen’s AMGN Enbrel. Cosentyx achieved the blockbuster status in 2016 recording over $1 billion of sales.

Approximately 60 million patients globally are impacted by psoriasis. The addition of the study data in the product label reflects the benefit of Cosentyx for patients living with this chronic condition.

Novartis expects the next growth phase to begin in 2018 driven by Cosentyx (in all three indications psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis) Entresto, and Kisqali and a deep pipeline with candidates like CTL019, BAF312, AMG 334, RTH258.

Novartis has outperformed the Zacks classified industry in the last six months. The stock has rallied 13.0% compared with the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry’s 11.1% gain.

Going forward, we expect that the approval of new drugs and label expansion of existing ones will bode well for Novartis. Also, strong performance of growth products should be able to offset the impact of generic competition for Gleevec.

Zacks Rank

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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