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Novartis Ilaris Approved for Extended Use in Periodic Fever

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Switzerland-based Novartis AG (NVS - Free Report) announced that its arthritis drug, Ilaris, was approved in the U.S. for expanded use in the treatment of three distinct types of periodic fever syndromes – tumor necrosis factor-receptor associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS), hyperimmunoglobulin D syndrome/mevalonate kinase deficiency (HIDS/MKD) and familial Mediterranean fever (FMF).

The approvals were based on positive results from a pivotal phase III study, CLUSTER, which demonstrated rapid and sustained disease control through 16-weeks in patients with TRAPS, HIDS/MKD or FMF, in comparison to placebo.

In both the U.S. and the EU, Ilaris is already approved for the treatment of cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS) and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA). In the EU, Ilaris is approved for the treatment of patients with adult-onset still's disease (AOSD) and the symptomatic treatment of refractory acute gouty arthritis. The drug is currently approved in more than 70 countries.

Note that Ilaris generated sales of $135 million in the first six moths of 2016, up 19% from the year-ago comparable period. The recent approval in additional indications should boost sales further.

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Stocks to Consider

A few better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated (CORT - Free Report) , Anika Therapeutics, Inc. (ANIK - Free Report) and Cambrex Corporation (CBM - Free Report) . All of the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Corcept Therapeutics witnessed an increase of 25% and 12.5% in its earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017, respectively, in the last 60 days. The company has posted a positive earnings surprise in three out of the last four quarters, bringing the average beat to 100%. The company’s share price has surged 39.3% year to date.

Anika Therapeutics’ earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017 were up a respective 12.6% and 14% over the last 60 days. The company’s earnings have beaten estimates in each of the last four quarters with an average beat of 42.19%. The company’s share price has jumped 23.2% year to date.

Over the past 60 days, Cambrex’s earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017 have increased by 5.6% and 5.8%, respectively. The company has delivered a positive earnings surprise thrice in the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 19.42%. Share price of the company has gained 4.9% year to date.

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