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Good News for UCB

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Good news flowed in at UCB (UCBJY) from Europe when the European Union (EU) approved Vimpat (lacosamide) as a single loading dose option for treating patients suffering from partial onset seizures. Vimpat will be used for initiation as a single loading dose (200 mg). This will be followed by a 100 mg twice daily Vimpat maintenance dose regimen 12 hours later.

Vimpat was first launched in the EU in Sep 2008, as an adjunctive therapy for treating adults and and adolescents (16-18 years) suffering from partial-onset seizures (with or without secondary generalization) with epilepsy. We note that Vimpat revenues for the nine months ending Sep 30, 2012 were € 237 million. UCB is scheduled to release 2012 financial results on Feb 27, 2013.

In Dec 2012, UCB announced research data evaluating the safety and efficacy of Vimpat in adults with partial-onset seizures (:POS) and in other special populations. A study was done on the antiepileptic drug’s (AED) safety as adjunctive therapy for patients with primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (:PGTCS).

UCB’s other major products include Cimzia, Neupro and Keppra. In Dec 2012, UCB received the Japanese approval for Neupro and Cimzia for Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome, and for rheumatoid arthritis respectively. UCB expects combined sales of Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro to reach at least €3.1 billion in the second half of this decade.

UCB carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Pharma stocks which currently look more attractive include Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX), Targacept Inc. (TRGT) and Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SLXP). All three companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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