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Pharma Stock Roundup: LLY's New Digital Pharmacy, NVO & ABBV's Fresh R&D Deals

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This week, Eli Lilly (LLY - Free Report) launched a new direct-to-consumer website to provide patients easy access to its FDA-approved tirzepatide medicines, Mounjaro and Zepbound. Novo Nordisk (NVO - Free Report) announced two research collaborations to develop novel treatments for cardiometabolic diseases. AbbVie (ABBV - Free Report) announced a new option and license deal to develop multiple in-situ generated CAR-T cell therapy candidates in oncology. AstraZeneca (AZN - Free Report) and Sanofi’s (SNY - Free Report) respiratory syncytial virus (“RSV”) antibody Beyfortus (nirsevimab) was approved in China to protect newborns and infants.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

Lilly Launches New Digital Pharmacy: Lilly’s new digital pharmacy called LillyDirect will allow patients to directly order its medicines for obesity, migraine and diabetes. The digital pharmacy should provide patients easy access to Lilly’s FDA-approved tirzepatide medicines, which include the diabetes drug Mounjaro and the newly launched weight loss medicine, Zepbound.

The digital pharmacy will also offer a home delivery option for select Lilly medicines through third-party pharmacies. It will also offer other services like access to independent telehealth healthcare providers and search tools to help patients find doctors near them for in-person visits.

Separately, in an open letter, Lilly warned that Mounjaro and Zepbound should not be used for cosmetic weight loss. Mounjaro and Zepbound should only be used when prescribed by a doctor for “treating” type II diabetes and obesity, respectively. The open letter comes amid a huge demand for obesity drugs for cosmetic use, which is causing a supply shortage.

The letter also mentions that there are safety risks of using products containing tirzepatide that are made or distributed by compounding pharmacies and not by Lilly and are not approved by the FDA.

Novo Nordisk’s New R&D Deals in Obesity or MASH: Novo Nordisk announced separate research collaborations with biotech companies, Omega and Cellarity. Per the Omega deal, Novo Nordisk will leverage the Omega’s proprietary platform to develop an epigenomic controller as part of a new approach to obesity management. As part of its collaboration with Cellarity, the companies will work to develop a small molecule therapy in metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH). The collaborations are part of the existing partnership between Flagship Pioneering and Novo Nordisk to leverage Flagship’s bioplatform companies to develop novel treatment approaches for cardiometabolic diseases.

AbbVie’s New CAR-T Deal: AbbVie announced a collaboration with clinical-stage private biotech Umoja Biopharma to develop novel in-situ generated CAR-T cell therapies. The companies have entered into two exclusive option and license agreements to develop multiple such therapies in oncology leveraging the latter’s VivoVec gene delivery platform. Under the first agreement, AbbVie has an exclusive option to license Umoja's CD19 directed in-situ generated CAR-T cell therapy candidates, including UB-VV111, its lead clinical program. Per the terms of the second agreement, the companies will develop up to four additional in-situ generated CAR-T cell therapy candidates for discovery targets selected by AbbVie. For the deals, AbbVie has made undisclosed upfront payments as well as made an equity investment in Umoja. Additionally, Umoja may be entitled to receive up to $1.44 billion in potential milestone payments.

AstraZeneca/Sanofi’s Beyfortus Gets Approval for Infants in China: The National Medical Products Administration of China has approved AstraZeneca and Sanofi’s Beyfortus (nirsevimab) for the prevention of RSV lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in neonates and infants entering or during their first RSV season. Beyfortus is the first and the only RSV preventive product approved in China and is expected to be available during the upcoming 2024-2025 RSV season. Beyfortus is already approved in the United States and EU.

The NYSE ARCA Pharmaceutical Index rose 4% in the last five trading sessions.

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Here’s how the eight major stocks performed in the last five trading sessions.

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

In the last five trading sessions, all the stocks were in the green, with Merck rising the most (7.6%).

In the past six months, Novo Nordisk has risen the most (35.9%), while Pfizer has declined the most (18.4%).

(See the last pharma stock roundup here: FDA Nod to AZN’s Eplontersen, CRL to MRK’s Cough Candidate)

What's Next in the Pharma World?

Watch for pipeline and regulatory updates next week.

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