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Incyte Soars on Positive Jakafi Data

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The share price of Incyte Corporation (INCY) shot up 33.5% on Aug 21, 2013 to close the trading session at $36.04. The stock was buoyed by the positive top-line results from the company’s phase II RECAP trial (n=136) on Jakafi (ruxolitinib) in combination with Roche’s (RHHBY) Xeloda (capecitabine). Incyte also reached a 52-week high of $37.46 on Aug 21.

The RECAP study evaluated Jakafi in combination with Xeloda in patients suffering from recurrent or treatment refractory metastatic pancreatic cancer. Results from the study revealed that overall survival in patients under the Jakafi arm was higher than the placebo arm. The company intends to present full results from the study at a future scientific meeting.

The study further revealed that treatment with Jakafi significantly improved body weight relative to placebo. The Jakafi-Xeloda combination was also well tolerated during the study.

Incyte now plans to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) for a phase III study on Jakafi in pancreatic cancer soon.

We note that Jakafi is the first and only approved treatment for patients suffering from intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis (MFGLQ) in the U.S. Jakafi (ex-U.S. trade name: Jakavi) is marketed by Novartis (NVS) outside the U.S. The drug is also approved by the European Commission to treat adults suffering from primary MF, post-polycythemia vera MF or post-essential thrombocythemia MF. Incyte is looking to expand the drug’s label in other oncology indications as well.

Incyte recorded net product revenues of approximately $54.1 million from Jakafi sales in the second quarter of 2013, up 82% year over year.

We are encouraged by the positive results from Incyte’s RECAP study. We believe successful development and commercialization of Jakafi in other indications should further boost the drug’s sales potential.

Incyte, a biopharma company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) appears to be more attractive in the biopharma space with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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