Eli Lilly & Company (LLY - Free Report) announced superiority of its plaque psoriasis drug Taltz over J&J’s (JNJ - Free Report) new drug, Tremfya (guselkumab), in delivering total skin clearance at week 12 in a head-to-head comparison study.
The phase IV IXORA-R study (n= 1,027) compared the efficacy between an IL-17A inhibitor, Taltz and an IL-23/p19 inhibitor, Temfya. The primary endpoint of the study was the proportion of patients who achieve complete skin clearance, in other words, 100% improvement from the baseline as measured by Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) 100 score
Top-line data from the study showed that a higher proportion of patients treated with Taltz achieved complete skin clearance compared to Tremfya as measured by PASI 100, thereby meeting the study’s primary endpoint. The study also met all major secondary endpoints. Detailed data from the study is expected to be presented at the upcoming scientific meetings.
Lilly’s shares were up 1.9% on Tuesday in response to the news. So far this year, shares of Lilly have been roughly flat against the industry’s decrease of 1.8%.
Taltz is presently marketed for moderate-to-severe plaque in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy and also for active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Taltz also demonstrated superiority in improving the signs and symptoms of PsA while also providing skin clearance in a head-to-head study comparing it with AbbVie, Inc.’s (ABBV - Free Report) blockbuster medicine, Humira. This data was presented in December last year. Taltz is also under review in the United States for the axial spondyloarthritis indication
Taltz is an important revenue driver for Lilly, recording sales of $606.3 million in the first half of 2019, up 65% year over year.
Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Another large-cap pharma stock with the same Zacks Rank as Lilly is Novartis (NVS - Free Report) . Novartis’ earnings estimates for 2019 have gone up 1.2% while that for 2020 have increased 2.3% over the past seven days. Novartis stock has returned 6.2% so far in 2019.
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