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Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ARNA announced that its selective sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator candidate, etrasimod met the primary endpoint in a phase II study, OASIS. The study evaluated etrasimod for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (“UC”). The candidate achieved statistically significant improvements in primary as well as secondary endpoints.
Shares of the company surged almost 25% in after-hours trading on Mar 19. Moreover, the company’s shares have returned 114.6% in the past year, significantly outperforming the industry’s decline of 3.4%.
Data from the phase II study showed that at week 12 a dose of 2 mg of etrasimod achieved an improvement of 0.99 points in a three-component Mayo Clinic Scale, a measure to assess severity of UC, statistically significant relative to placebo. Moreover, 41.8% of the patients achieved endoscopic improvement compared to 17.8% for placebo.
Clinical remission (“CR”) was achieved in 33% of the patients on etrasimod versus 8.1% for placebo based on the three-component Mayo Clinic Scale. The candidate achieved CR in 24.5% of the patients compared with 6% for placebo based on a four-point Mayo Clinic Scale.
The dose ranging OASIS study evaluated two doses – 2 mg and 1 mg – of etrasimod in patients with moderate to severe UC.
Based on these data, Arena is planning to initiate phase III program for further development of etrasimod for treatment of UC.
Arena is also developing etrasimod in other indications including inflammatory bowel disease, primary biliary cholangitis and pyoderma gangrenosum. The company has another pipeline candidate, ralinepag, which is being developed for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
The company’s sole marketed drug, Belviq, is approved for chronic weight management. However, the drug has shown dismal performance in the multi-billion dollar but highly competitive market. Also, the company depends on collaborations for its revenues.
Investors cheered the positive news for its pipeline candidate. We expect their focus to remain on the performance of Arena’s pipeline candidates.
Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price
Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price | Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Quote
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Arena currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the pharma sector include Horizon Pharma Public Limited Company HZNP, PDL BioPharma, Inc. PDLI and Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated LGND. All the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Horizon Pharma’s earnings estimates increased 10% to $1.43 for 2018 and 15% to $1.77 for 2019 over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 68.92%.
PDL BioPharma’s earnings per share estimates increased 200% to 30 cents for 2018 and 150% to 25 cents for 2019 over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in all the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 88.09%.
Ligand’s earnings per share estimates increased 11% to $4.20 for 2018 and 12% to $5.32 for 2019 over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 24.88%. The company’s shares have increased 23% so far this year.
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