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Positive Data on Novartis' Jakavi

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Novartis (NVS - Free Report) recently presented positive results on oncology drug Jakavi from a three-year follow up analysis of a phase III trial, COMFORT II.

It was observed that the overall survival rate improved significantly in patients treated with Jakavi along with sustained reductions in spleen size versus patients treated with conventional therapy.

Additionally, the study showed that Jakavi slowed and stabilized the progress of bone marrow fibrosis. Moreover, Novartis observed a 52% reduction in the risk of death in patients treated with Jakavi.

The results were in line with the previous studies and reinstated that Jakavi is more effective than conventional therapy for patients, who suffer from myelofibrosis.

We note that Jakavi was approved in the EU in 2012 for the treatment of disease-related splenomegaly or symptoms in adult patients with primary myelofibrosis, post-polycythemia vera myelofibrosis or post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis.

Jakavi was granted “orphan drug” status in the US and Europe. Novartis has a licensing agreement with Incyte Corporation (INCY - Free Report) for the development and commercialization of Jakavi outside the US.

Jakavi was approved in the US in Nov 2011 where it is available under the trade name, Jakafi. Incyte markets Jakafi in the US for the treatment of patients with intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis.

Novartis generated $30 million of revenues from the sales of Jakavi in 2012. It is approved in 45 countries as of now with additional worldwide regulatory filings are underway.

Positive results from the study should boost the sales potential of the drug. We are encouraged by the recent bout of positive results at Novartis. Novartis recently released encouraging data on diabetes drug Galvus as well.

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, Novo Nordisk (NVO - Free Report) and Cubist Pharmaceuticals look well placed with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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