Encouraging Data Published on CELG's Abraxane

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Celgene Corporation (CELG) announced that encouraging data from a phase III study (MPACT: n=861) on its oncology drug Abraxane was published at the New England Journal of Medicine. The study evaluated the combination of Abraxane and Eli Lilly and Company’s (LLY) Gemzar as a first-line therapy in patients suffering from metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

We remind investors that encouraging data from the MPACT study formed the basis of the U.S. approval of Abraxane in the pancreatic cancer indication. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) approved Abraxane for the above indication in Sep 2013. The FDA clearance marks the first approval of a drug for the metastatic pancreatic cancer indication in nearly eight years.

We note that Abraxane in combination with Gemzar is also under review in the EU for the advanced pancreatic cancer indication. Abraxane is also under review in many other countries for the indication.

We note that this is the third indication for which Abraxane has been approved. Abraxane is already available as a second-line therapy for metastatic breast cancer. Last year, the drug was cleared by the FDA as a first-line combination therapy for treating patients suffering from locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. The FDA approval for the advanced pancreatic cancer indication has boosted the drug’s sales potential.

Celgene, a biopharmaceutical company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Biopharma stocks like Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN) appear to be more attractive. Actelion carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Alexion is a Zacks #2 Ranked (Buy) stock.

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