Novo Nordisk (NVO - Free Report) inked a global licence deal with biotech company EpiDestiny for sickle cell disease (“SCD”) program EPI01.
Per the deal, EpiDestiny will receive more than $400 million in upfront, development and sales milestone payments and will also get royalties on net sales. EpiDestiny retains all rights to continue development of EPI01 in oncology. EpiDestiny and Novo Nordisk will jointly develop EPI01 for SCD and beta-thalassaemia.
Shares of Novo Nordisk have moved up 37.9% over a year compared with the industry’s gain of 6.3%.
EPI01 is a novel, orally available, disease-modifying therapy to increase foetal haemoglobin (HbF) and interrupt SCD pathophysiology. EpiDestiny recently completed a phase I study with EPI01 in SCD patients demonstrating increased HbF expression and safety after eight weeks of administration in a small patient cohort.
The inclusion of EPI01 in Novo Nordisk’s portfolio will be a boost for the company as the candidate forms part of the company’s existing biopharmaceutical business. Thus the company can enter into a new therapeutic area and also utilize their core Research and Development and commercial capabilities to make a significant difference for patients living with a serious chronic disease.
EpiDestiny believes that teaming up with Novo Nordisk will enable the former to invest and explore the full potential of EPI01 and pursue its other pipeline compounds in oncology and other indications.
We note that Novo Nordisk has a strong presence in the Diabetes care market with a global value market share of 27%. Also, the company has a strong presence in the total insulin market, and modern and new-generation insulin market with a global value market share of 47% and 45%, respectively.
The company has one of the broadest diabetes portfolios in the industry. A solid performance of Tresiba, Victoza, Saxenda and NovoRapid in 2017 has kept the company on a growth trajectory.
Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider
Novo Nordisk carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
A few better-ranked stocks from the same space worth looking at are Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN - Free Report) , Enanta Pharma (ENTA - Free Report) and Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND - Free Report) . All of themsport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Regeneron’s earnings per share estimates have moved up from $18.67 to $18.68 for 2018 in the last 30 days. The company pulled off a positive earnings surprise in three of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 9.15%.
Enanta Pharma delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 373.1%. The company’s shares have surged 186.9% over a year.
Ligand’s earnings per share estimates have moved up $3.78 to $4.20 from $4.75 to $5.32 for 2018 and 2019, respectively, over the last 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 24.88%. The company’s shares have rallied 51% over a year.
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