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Novartis (NVS) Announces Positive Data on Heart Failure Drug

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Novartis AG (NVS - Free Report) recently announced results of a new post-hoc analysis from the PARADIGM-HF study on Entresto in a subgroup of patients with reduced ejection fraction heart failure (HFrEF) and diabetes.

A look at Novartis’ share price movement over the past one year shows that the stock has underperformed the Zacks classified Large Cap Pharma industry. Specifically, Novartis’ stock gained 3.0% during this period, while the industry gained 7.5%.

The data indicated that Entresto tablets improved glycemic control, as assessed by hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing, compared to ACE-inhibitor enalapril. Entresto lowered HbA1c levels after one year of treatment for HF, and this effect was sustained over three years of study follow-up.

We remind investors that Entresto is indicated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular (CV) death and hospitalization for HF in patients with chronic HF (NYHA Class II-IV) and reduced ejection fraction. The drug is not indicated yet for diabetes.

The data was presented today at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 66th Annual Scientific Session & Expo in Washington, D.C. and published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

The new use of insulin was also reduced by 29% among patients taking Entresto compared to enalapril-treated patients. Moreover, up to 40% of HFrEF patients have been diagnosed with diabetes, which is associated with worse cardiovascular outcomes.

Entresto is picking up gradually following the positive treatment guidelines in the U.S and Europe and ongoing field force expansion after having a slow uptake post launch. We remind investors that Entresto was given a class I recommendation, as per the updated clinical practice guidelines released by the ACC in 2016, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), as well as the European Society of Cardiology.

We remind investors that Novartis broadened its oncology portfolio by acquiring GlaxoSmithKline plc’s (GSK - Free Report) certain oncology products and pipeline compounds in Mar 2015 after having divested its Animal Health Division to Eli Lilly and Company  (LLY - Free Report) . Oct 2015, it acquired a portfolio of cancer immunotherapies through the acquisition of Admune Therapeutics and added bispecific antibodies through a collaboration with Xencor, Inc. (XNCR - Free Report) in Jun 2016.

Going forward, we expect approval of new drugs and label expansion of existing ones to bode well for Novartis. Also, strong performance of growth products should be able to offset the impact of generic competition for Gleevec.

Zacks Rank

Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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