Novartis AG (NVS - Free Report) announced results from a post-hoc analysis from the PARADIGM-HF trial on cardiovascular drug Entresto. The results were published in JAMA Cardiology.
The results demonstrated that treatment with Entresto significantly improved seven out of 10 types of physical and social activities at eight months in heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) versus previous standard of care.
Moreover, the improvement in combined physical and social activity of patients treated with Entresto versus enalapril was equivalent to a difference of nine years of aging.
Notably, these improvements were visible from the eight-month visit and were sustained during the study's three year follow up period.
Hence, these positive results will further prove that Entresto not only reduces the risk of death but also has a positive impact on the quality of life of heart failure patients.
We remind investors that Entresto is indicated for the treatment of symptomatic chronic heart failure with HFrEF. The drug was approved in Europe and the United States in 2015. Both the European Society of Cardiology heart failure guidelines and US heart failure guidelines have given a class I recommendation to the drug for the use of sacubitril/valsartan in patients with HFrEF.
Currently, Novartis is conducting multiple studies on Entresto as part of the FortiHFy clinical program. This includes two large outcome studies. PARAGON-HF is the first phase III trial of Entresto in patients with chronic heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Meanwhile, Novartis continues recruitment in PARADISE-MI, a phase IIIb trial for patients at high risk for heart failure after an acute myocardial infarction, with results expected in 2020.
The drug is projected as one of the key growth drivers of Novartis along with Cosentyx. Total Entresto sales came in at $507 million in 2017, up 195%. Entresto’s sales benefited from continued access improvements and expansion of sales force in the United States.
Novartis’ shares have gained 13.8% over a year, compared with the industry’s rally of 9.8%.
Novartis has a strong oncology portfolio of drugs like Afinitor, Exjade, Jakavi, Zykadia, Tasigna, Jadenu, and Kisqali. The approval of Kymriah for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a major boost given the potential in the CAR-T therapy space. Strong performance from new drugs like Cosentyx and Entresto should propel growth going forward. The generic division, Sandoz also combatted pricing pressure strongly buoyed by biosimilar launches of Rixathon, biosimilar of Roche’s (RHHBY - Free Report) Rituxan and Erelzi, biosimilar of Amgen’s (AMGN - Free Report) Enbrel.
The company recently entered into an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Free Report) to divest its 36.5% stake in its consumer healthcare joint venture with the latter for $13.0 billion. The proceeds from the sale will be used according to capital allocation priorities, including bolt-on acquisitions.
Novartis 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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