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J&J (JNJ) Discontinues HIV Vaccine Phase III Mosaico Study

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Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) announced that it is discontinuing the phase III Mosaico study of its investigational HIV vaccine regimen following a data review by the study’s independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).

The DSMB determined that the investigational HIV vaccine regimen was not effective in preventing HIV infection among study participants and the study is not expected to meet its primary endpoint. However, the DSMB did not identify any safety issues with the vaccine.

The Mosaico study began in 2019 while vaccinations were completed in October 2022. We remind investors that in August 2021, J&J discontinued another phase IIb Imbokodo HIV vaccine study in a population of young women in sub-Saharan Africa as the candidate could not provide sufficient protection against HIV infection

In the past year, J&J’s shares have risen 1.6% compared with the industry’s 14% increase.

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J&J holds a key position in the HIV market offering nine therapeutics for HIV patients. These include the dapivirine ring, a discreet long-acting HIV prevention method, and Cabenuva, J&J’s long-acting injectable HIV treatment. Cabenuva was approved by the FDA as a once-monthly treatment for HIV-1 in virologically suppressed adults in January 2021 and for adolescents in March 2022.

Cabenuva is a combination of ViiV Healthcare’s long-acting injectable, cabotegravir and J&J’s injectable, rilpivirine. Cabenuva is also approved in the EU, Canada and several other countries.

ViiV Healthcare, a company focused on HIV, is majorly owned by GSK (GSK - Free Report) and Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) . After Pfizer and Glaxo established it in 2009, Japan’s Shionogi joined as a shareholder in October 2012.

GSK and PFE’s ViiV Healthcare focus on advancing HIV care by exploring new treatment paradigms and delivering effective and innovative medicines for the prevention and treatment of HIV.

Zacks Rank and Stock to Consider

J&J currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

A better-ranked large drugmaker is Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) , which has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Estimates for Sanofi’s 2022 earnings per share have increased from $4.13 per share to $4.31 while that for 2023 have jumped from $4.30 per share to $4.40 in the past 60 days. Sanofi’s stock has declined 5.6% in the past year.

Sanofi beat earnings expectations in all the trailing four quarters. The company delivered a four-quarter earnings surprise of 9.50%, on average.

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