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Pfizer Slips Despite Mostly Positive Tafamidis Data; 4 Pharma Stocks Make Sympathy Moves

Shanthi Rexaline

Multiple pharma stocks are making sympathy moves Monday in reaction to data released at the 2018 European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, Germany.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) shares are trading down after the release of tafamidis data at the conference. Anylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) shares hit a multimonth high, and Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: IONS) and Akcea Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: AKCA) are also higher. Eidos Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: EIDX)'s stock is plunging.

At the time of publication: 

  • Pfizer was down 1.93 percent to $41.58.
  • Alnylam shares were jumping 16.36 percent to $112.60
  • Akcea was trading up 1.75 percent to $33.20.
  • Ionis stock was rallying 8.39 percent to $53.98.
  • Eidos was plummeting 30.70 percent to $14.02. 

What Happened

Dow component Pfizer presented Phase 3 data for tafamidis as late-breaking data at the ESC Congress, which showed that the pipeline candidate achieved a 30-percent reduction in mortality risk and a 32-percent reduction in the rate of cardiovascular-related hospitalizations over a 30-month period in people with a wild-type transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy compared to placebo.

ATTR amyloid cardiomyopathy is a condition in which TTR, a protein responsible for transporting thyroxine and retinol, leads to the accumulation of amyloid fibrils primarily in the nervous system and cardiac tissue, causing inherent dysfunction of these organs.

Tafamidis also reduced the decline in the 6-minute walk test distance, a measure of functional capacity, and the decline in aspects of quality of life — both of which are secondary endpoints.

It was also well-tolerated, Pfizer said.

The data is based on a study dubbed ATTR-ACT.

Although Pfizer's data appears positive at the outset, there appears to be some apprehension over the 18-month data, Seeking Alpha reported, citing a Stifel analyst.

Why It's Important

Alnylam has Onpattro in the market, which is approved by the FDA for hereditary ATTR polyneuropathy, which treats the accumulation of amyloid fibrils in the nervous system. The company's clinical studies have shown that it has cardiac effects as well, posing a potential threat to tafamidis.

Akcea and partner Ionis are awaiting an FDA nod for inotersen, which is being evaluated for improving nerve function. The approval will likely come in early October.

Shares of Eidos, which recently went public, are slumping. The company has the ATTR amyloidosis pipeline candidate AG-10, which is being developed for TTR cardiomyopathy and TTR polyneuropathy.

What's Next

Pfizer said it has established an expanded access treatment protocol to make tafamidis available to ATTR-CM patients for their use before regulatory approval.

Tafamidis is touted as a blockbuster drug; Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Jason Gerberry expects FDA approval in 2019. The analyst forecast peak tafamidis sales of $750 million, with multibillion-dollar upside potential and an estimated 200,000 U.S. cardiomyopathy patients.

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Latest Ratings for PFE

Date Firm Action From To
Aug 2018 Morgan Stanley Maintains Overweight Overweight
Aug 2018 Barclays Maintains Equal-Weight Equal-Weight
Aug 2018 Bank of America Maintains Buy Buy

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