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Alexion's (ALXN) Strensiq Results Positive in Long-Term Study

Zacks Equity Research

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ALXN announced that researchers presented encouraging data on Strensiq at the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) Congress in Austria.

Alexion’s shares declined 4.4% year to date compared with the Zacks classified Medical - Biomedical and Genetics industry’s gain of 2.1%.

The final data from the extension phase of the randomized, open-label, dose-ranging phase II trial of Strensiq showed the benefits of the drug achieved in adolescents and adults (ages 13-66 years at study entry) suffering from hypophosphatasia (HPP) within the first 6 months were sustained through 5 years of treatment.

The data from the study were in sync with the previously presented interim results.

The results were presented at the ECTS Congress in Austria.

The findings demonstrated a reduction in two key biomarkers of HPP disease activity, as well as improvements in physical function in patients treated with Strensiq, as observed in tests to measure walking distance, running speed and agility, and muscle strength.

We note that Strensiq is approved in the EU and the U.S. as a bone-targeted enzyme replacement therapy that treats the underlying cause of HPP by replacing the missing TNSALP enzyme.

Strensiq continues to perform well. Revenues continue to benefit from growing number of patients (both children as well as adults with pediatric onset disease) owing to HPP disease awareness and diagnostic initiatives. These initiatives are leading to steady identification of new patients with HPP.  Sales of the drug came in at $74 million, up from $33 million in the year-ago quarter.

Concurrent with the first-quarter results, the company maintained its revenues guidance while raised its earnings guidance for 2017. The company expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of $5.10–$5.30 up from its previously guidance range of $5.00–$5.25. Revenues are expected around $3.4–$3.5 billion.

We expect growth at Alexion to continue being driven by Soliris while new products like Strensiq and Kanuma should boost performance which in turn should reduce the company’s dependence on Soliris for growth. We are also impressed by Alexion’s efforts to develop its pipeline.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Alexion currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include VIVUS, Inc. VVUS, MEI Pharma, Inc. MEIP and Aeglea BioTherapeutics AGLE . While VIVUS and MEI Pharma sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Aeglea carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

VIVUS’s loss per share estimates narrowed from 50 cents to 39 cents for 2017, over the last 30 days. The company posted positive earnings surprises in all of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 233.69%.

MEI Pharma’s estimates narrowed from loss per share of 1 cent to gain per share of 1 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted positive earnings surprises in three of the four trailing quarters, with an average beat of 66.56%.

Aeglea’s loss per share estimates narrowed from $3.64 to $2.48 for 2017, over the last 60 days. The company posted positive earnings surprises in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 20.75%.

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