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Incyte, Eli Lilly Offer Positive Phase III Data on Baricitinib

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Incyte Corporation (INCY - Free Report) and Eli Lilly and Company (LLY - Free Report) provided updates from two phase III studies, RA-BEAM and RA-BUILD, on baricitinib for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

RA-BEAM evaluated baricitinib, in comparison to AbbVie Inc.’s (ABBV - Free Report) Humira, in patients who had active moderate-to-severe RA, despite ongoing treatment with methotrexate. RA-BUILD, on the other hand, evaluated the candidate, in comparison to placebo, in patients with moderate-to-severe RA who previously had an inadequate response to, or were intolerant of, at least one conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (csDMARD) and had not received a biologic DMARD.

Findings from both the studies demonstrated that patients on the baricitinib (4 mg) arm experienced significant improvements in joint pain, severity of morning joint stiffness and tiredness, compared to both placebo and Humira.

Results were presented at an annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP).

In a separate press release, Incyte and Eli Lilly announced new data analyses from the same studies. Data from three post-hoc analyses on baricitinib showed improvements in RA symptoms in patients irrespective of age, body mass index (BMI) and previous treatments with csDMARDs.

We note that in Jan 2016, Eli Lilly submitted a regulatory application for baricitinib in both the U.S. and the EU for the treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate severe RA. As per a WHO Global Burden of Disease Report, over 23 million people suffer from RA across the world.

Meanwhile, baricitinib is being evaluated in phase IIa study for the treatment of atopic dermatitis and in a phase II study for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Incyte is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, while Eli Lilly carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Cambrex Corp. (CBM - Free Report) is a top-ranked stock in the health care sector, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Cambrex’s earnings estimates have increased from $2.46 to $2.55 for 2016 and from $2.91 to $3.06 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company has posted a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters with an average beat of 19.78%.

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