Shares of Amarin Corporation plc (AMRN - Free Report) have risenalmost 350% in this week. On Sep 24, the company had announced positive data from a cardiovascular outcomes study on its fish oil capsules, Vascepa.
The results demonstrated that Vascepa can significantly reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with LDL-C (bad cholesterol) controlled by statin therapy. Year to date, shares of the company have increased 235.4% against the industry’s decline of 2.2%.
Please note that Vascepa is already approved in the United States as an adjunct to diet, to reduce triglyceride levels in adult patients with severe (≥500 mg/dL) hypertriglyceridemia.
The REDUCE-IT study evaluated whether patients with bad cholesterol controlled by statin therapy and at cardiovascular risk can achieve significant cardiovascular risk reduction on treatment with Vascepa.
The REDUCE-IT study showed that the use of Vascepa 4gms/day resulted in 25% relative risk reduction of a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE), with a high degree of statistical significance when compared with placebo. MACE is a composite endpoint of CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, coronary revascularization, or unstable angina requiring hospitalization.
Vascepa was well tolerated in the study with a consistent safety profile. The details of the REDUCE-IT study will be presented at American Heart Association (AHA) annual session in mid-November.
If Amarin gets the approval to include the outcomes data on the label of Vascepa, it can cater to a larger patient population and generate higher sales.
However, this news might not be comforting for some companies that also have products similar to Vascepa in their portfolio, like Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) and Amgen’s (AMGN - Free Report) PCSK9 inhibitors, Praluent and Repatha, respectively. Sanofi’s Praluent showed a 15% reduction of MACE risk in the Odyssey Outcomes study. Amgen’s Repatha helped a group of patients with cardiovascular disease reduce their MACE risk by 15%, when added to statin treatment.
However, Vascepa’s extremely positive results can pose a serious threat to Repatha and Praulent sales. Some investors believe that Vascepa could have an upper hand because it is affordable, orally administered and has a favorable safety profile.
Zacks Rank and Stock to Consider
Amarin is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.
A better-ranked stock in the biotech sector is Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (LGND - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Ligand’s earnings per share estimates have moved up from $5.64 to $6.33 for 2018 and from $5.59 to $5.74 for 2019 in the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in all of the trailing four quarters with an average beat of 59.54%. Share price of the company has increased 96.5% year to date.
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