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Lilly’s Taltz Positive in Phase III Label Expansion Study


Eli Lilly and Company LLY announced positive top-line data from a phase III label expansion study evaluating its psoriasis drug, Taltz (ixekizumab), in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (“AS”). The drug met the primary endpoint of improvement in the signs and symptoms of AS and all secondary endpoints as well.

Taltz, an IL-17A antagonist, is currently approved for the treatment of adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis or active psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Shares of the company are down 3.3% in the past year, underperforming the industry’s gain of 11.2% in that period.

The phase III study – COAST-V – evaluated the drug in AS patients who have not received any prior treatment with a biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug. The study consisted of a placebo arm and an active control arm with AbbVie’s ABBV arthritis drug, Humira. Data from the study showed that treatment with Taltz led to statistically significant improvement as measured by the proportion of patients who achieved Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society 40 at 16 weeks.

Additional data from the study is expected to be presented later this year.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of spondyloarthritis affecting pelvic joints and spine. It is characterized by chronic inflammatory back pain, stiffness and impaired function and mobility.

Taltz sales increased 14% quarter over quarter in the last quarter of 2017, on the back of strong uptake. In January 2018, the drug received approval in Europe for PsA, which is expected to boost sales of the drug in the first quarter of 2018.

However, several drugs are approved for the treatment of AS including Humira and Novartis’ NVS Cosentyx. Other companies are developing their therapies for treating AS, which includes Galapagos’ GLPG filgotinib.

Zacks Rank

Lilly 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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