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Flexion’s (FLXN) Zilretta Therapy to Fast Capture OA Market


Following the FDA approval of Zilretta in October for managing osteoarthritis (“OA”) of the knee, Flexion Therapeutics, Inc. FLXN has recently announced the full commercial launch of the same. Notably, since the product’s sanction, it was made available on a limited basis in the United States.

As the most common form of arthritis, OA is a progressive and incurable condition, which might cause irreversible structural damage, leading to intermittent discomfort, loss of function and experience of severe chronic pain associated with it.

The company is highly optimistic about this new pain management therapy, Zilretta (triamcinolone acetonide extended-release injectable suspension), the first and only extended-release, intra-articular injection for OA knee pain. This non-opioid medicine employs Flexion's proprietary microsphere technology to provide proven pain relief over 12 weeks.

We believe, this latest commercial launch of Zilretta is well-timed taking into consideration, how rapidly this market is expanding globally. Per data by Technavio, the Global OA market is expected to witnesses a CAGR of 8.55% over the period from 2014 through 2019.

Flexion also observed that OA has so far affected more than 30 million Americans, accounting for more than $185 billion in annual expenditures. We believe, the market acceptance rate for Zilretta is going to be pretty impressive as more than 15 million Americans were already diagnosed with OA of the knee alone in 2016.

Not only this, but the average age of physician-diagnosed knee OA has fallen from 72 in the 1990s to 56 in the 2010s. On a worrying note, the prevalence of OA is anticipated to persist and increase due to aging, obesity and sports injuries.

Price performance of Flexion has been quite encouraging over the past six months. Shares of the company have outperformed the broader industry with the stock having gained 47.4% compared with the industry’s 0.5% gain during the period.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Flexion Therapeutics carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical sector are PetMed Express, Inc. PETS, Myriad Genetics, Inc. MYGN and Luminex Corp. LMNX. While PetMed and Myriad sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Luminex carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

PetMed has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 10%. The stock has surged roughly 79.1% in a year.

Myriad Genetics has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 15%. The stock has gained 8.5% over the last three months.

Luminex has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 15.2%. The stock has rallied 14.9% over the last three months.

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