Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) announced encouraging top-line results from three pivotal studies under the phase III UNCOVER program (n=3,866) on ixekizumab. The candidate is being developed for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.
Patients were randomized to receive placebo or ixekizumab (80 mg every two or four weeks) in three of the UNCOVER studies for 12 weeks after a starting dose of ixekizumab (160 mg). In two of the active comparator studies, patients could be administered with Amgen Inc.’s (AMGN) Enbrel (etanercept) twice weekly for 12 weeks. Treatment responders from these studies were again randomized to continue treatment with placebo or ixekizumab for up to 60 weeks.
Results from the studies revealed that ixekizumab was statistically superior to both Enbrel and placebo on all skin clearance measures. Moreover, the company stated in its press release that the study has met all key objectives. Based on the positive results the company plans to file for ixekizumab in the first half of 2015.
Though the results on ixekizumab were encouraging, the psoriasis market is highly crowded with the presence of companies like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) among others. Moreover, several companies have late-stage candidates in development for psoriasis.
Meanwhile, we are encouraged by Lilly’s progress with its pipeline so far. The company has several pipeline related news lined up in the coming quarters. Successful development of these candidates is crucial for the company.
Eli Lilly is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Some better-ranked stocks in the pharmaceutical sector include Allergan (AGN) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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