Novartis (NVS) announced that results from two pivotal phase III studies on pipeline candidate, secukinumab (AIN457), were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Novartis is evaluating secukinumab for the treatment of psoriasis. The results from the studies, ERASURE and FIXTURE, showed that secukinumab met all primary and key secondary endpoints at week 12 and showed superiority to Amgen’s (AMGN) Enbrel in improving moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis symptoms in the FIXTURE study, and was superior to placebo in both studies.
In addition, patients treated with secukinumab also reported improvements in itching, pain and scaling, compared to placebo at Week 12, in the ERASURE study.
Moreover, secukinumab showed an acceptable safety profile in both the studies which was consistent with phase II studies. We note that Novartis submitted secukinumab to regulatory bodies both in the U.S. and EU in 2013 for the treatment of psoriasis.
Meanwhile, Novartis is also evaluating secukinumab for arthritic conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The successful development and commercialization of secukinumab for the treatment of psoriasis will further strengthen Novartis’ dermatology portfolio. Novartis already has Xolair in its dermatology portfolio which is approved for the treatment of refractory chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) in the EU and is known as refractory chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) in the U.S.
Novartis, a large cap pharma, currently carries a Zacks Rank#3 (Hold). Some better-ranked large cap pharmas include AbbVie, Inc. (ABBV) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).