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Novartis (NVS) Reports Favorable Data on Enbrel Biosimilar

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Novartis AG’s (NVS - Free Report) generic arm, Sandoz announced the publication of results from EGALITY study in the British Journal of Dermatology. The study showed that its biosimilar version of Amgen Inc.’s (AMGN - Free Report) blockbuster drug, Enbrel, Erelzi, is equivalent to the originator product in more than 500 adult patients over 52 weeks.

Erelzi was approved by the FDA in August this year for the treatment of various inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The biosimilar candidate is under review in the EU where the submission was accepted last year. Notably, Erelzi is still to be launched in the U.S.

EGALITY included both the switched and continuous treatment arms. Patients were treated with Erelzi and Enbrel alternatively and it was seen that no clinically meaningful difference in safety and efficacy were observed between Erelzi and the originator product over the duration of the study. In addition the three treatment switches had no impact on the safety and efficacy of the biosimilar candidate.

Sandoz currently markets Zarxio in the U.S. a biosimilar version of Amgen Inc.’s (AMGN - Free Report) Neupogen. In addition, it has a strong pipeline of biosimilars including that of Roche Holding AG’s (RHHBY - Free Report) Rituxan. The company plans to launch five biosimilars for major oncology and immunology biologics across key geographies by 2020. Sandoz is well positioned in the biosimilars space based on its experience and capabilities in development, manufacturing and commercialization.

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

A Stock to Consider

A better-ranked stock in the healthcare sector is Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (ABUS - Free Report) , which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Arbutus’s loss estimates narrowed from $2.15 to $1.74 for 2016 and from $1.96 to $1.51 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive surprise thrice in the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 59.31%.


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