Pipeline Progress at GlaxoSmithKline

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GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) announced that it has initiated a phase III study, LATITUDE-TIMI 60 on cardiovascular candidate losmapimod.

Glaxo is evaluating the efficacy of losmapimod in patients suffering from acute coronary syndrome.

The randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study will assess if losmapimod can reduce the risk of a subsequent cardiac event when administered orally twice a day for a period of three months, immediately after patients show symptoms of a coronary heart disease.

The primary efficacy objective of the trial is the composite measure of adjudicated major adverse cardiovascular events, comprising the time to first occurrence of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or severe recurrent ischemia requiring urgent coronary artery revascularization.

Glaxo is conducting the study in collaboration with the TIMI Study Group, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.

We note that Glaxo suffered a pipeline setback last month when its other cardiovascular candidate darapladib failed to meet the primary objective in a phase III study. Glaxo had announced disappointing top-line data from the first study (:STABILITY) on darapladib as well in Nov 2013.

Hence, we expect investor focus to be on updates from LATITUDE-TIMI 60 study. The successful development and commercialization of losmapimod will bode well for Glaxo given the recent setbacks on the other candidate. Moreover, Glaxo’s top line is under pressure with sales of many of its key products dwindling due to generic competition. Consequently, Glaxo is relying heavily on the success of its pipeline candidates to boost growth in the coming years.

Glaxo carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, stocks like Allergan (AGN), Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) look better placed in the healthcare space. While Allergan and Gilead are Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks, Alexion holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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