Late-Stage Novartis AG (ADR)(NYSE:NVS) Kisqali Study Shows Promise In Treating Pre-Menopausal Women


New data obtained from a clinical study conducted on Novartis AG (ADR)(NYSE:NVS) Kisqali, a breast cancer drug developed by Novartis, has shown that it is effective in pre-menopausal women. The late-phase trial showed that when Kisqali was used in combo with hormonal therapies, the advance of breast cancer was halted in pre-menopausal women. Currently the segment that Kisqali is seeking to occupy is dominated by Ibrance, a drug developed by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE).

Ibrance was approved two years ago and last year’s sales of the drug doubled to reach a figure of $643 million. In the third quarter of this financial year, revenues from Kisqali were approximately $26 million following its approval in Europe and in the United States earlier in the year for the treatment of breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Blockbuster drug

Novartis expects Kisqali to become a blockbuster eventually as it is expanded to more patients and the company hopes this is what will assist it to return to a revenue-growth path next year.

Broadening the use of Kisqali comes at a time when there has been an expansion of CDK4/6 inhibitors which are made to block particular enzymes which have received the blame for causing the growth of tumors. For instance Verzenio, a drug developed by Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY), received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration two months ago.

Cancer symposium

Specifics of the newest Kisqali trial will be provided during a cancer symposium to be held next month in San Antonio, Texas. According to analysts the initial data is good news for Kisqali with regards to the use of the drug in pre-menopausal patients. However one advantage that Ibrance has is that no new safety issues have been observed. Kisqali however comes with warning as it causes QT prolongation, a condition which signals liver and heart problems.

“The indication clearly helps differentiate this CDK 4/6 inhibitor from its competitor Ibrance, which so far benefited from a 2-years lead… and a milder tolerability profile,” Baader Helvea, an analyst at Bruno Bulic, said.

In Wednesday’s trading session shares of Novartis AG ranged between $82.45 and $83.07 and closed the day’s session at $82.94 per share.


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