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Novartis Offers Positive Data on Cardiovascular Drug Entresto

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Novartis AG (NVS - Free Report) announced new analysis of the PARADIGM-HF study on its cardiovascular drug, Entresto, at a scientific session of the American Heart Association (AHA).

Findings from the study demonstrated that Entresto reduced the risk of first and repeated heart failure hospitalizations as well as cardiovascular (CV) deaths that followed heart failure hospitalization by 20–24%, in comparison with enalapril, in heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

We remind investors that in Sep 2016, the company revealed post-hoc analyses from the abovementioned study which demonstrated that patients on Entresto reported a higher quality of life scores compared with those taking enalapril.

Note that Entresto (twice-daily) is used in conjunction with other heart failure therapies for reducing strain on the failing heart. It is indicated in the U.S. for the treatment of heart failure (NYHA class II–IV) in patients with systolic dysfunction. In the EU, the drug is approved for the treatment of symptomatic chronic HFrEF in adult patients.

Novartis expects Entresto to generate sales of approximately $200 million in 2016. Heart failure, a debilitating and life-threatening condition, affects more than 60 million individuals across the world.

Meanwhile, the company continues to work on expanding Entresto’s label and is evaluating the drug for acute decompensated heart failure, and preserved ejection fraction heart failure conditions.

Approval of new drugs and label expansion of existing ones should bode well for Novartis as it has been facing stiff generic competition for some of its key drugs like Gleevec in recent times. Additionally, its oncology drugs are facing competition from immuno-oncology therapies.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK - Free Report) , Cambrex Corp. (CBM - Free Report) and Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (VNDA - Free Report) . Each of these stocks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Anika’s earnings estimates increased from $1.96 to $2.06 for 2016 and from $2.03 to $2.09 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive surprise in all of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 33.14%.

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%.

Vanda’s loss estimates narrowed from 68 cents to 56 cents for 2016 over the last 60 days, while its earnings estimates increased from 16 cents to 17 cents for 2017. The company posted a positive earnings surprise in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 56.65%.

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