Novartis Presents Positive Data on Lucentis and Jetrea
Novartis (NVS - Analyst Report) presented encouraging data on Lucentis and Jetrea at the EURETINA congress in London.
Novartis' Lucentis is approved for various ocular indications – wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema (DME), visual impairment due to macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and visual impairment due to choroidal neovascularization secondary to pathologic myopia (myopic CNV).
The retrospective analysis data from a U.S. claims database showed that the risk of endophthalmitis is 65% higher following treatment with aflibercept than treatment with Lucentis, thereby supporting the long-established safety profile of Lucentis.
Novartis' ophthalmology unit Alcon also presented further efficacy and safety data for the use of Jetrea. Jetrea is approved in Europe for the treatment for vitreomacular traction, including macular hole.
The data showed a high rate of release and closure of vitreomacular adhesion (VMA) and macular hole (MH) when treated with Jetrea.
Additionally, Alcon announced the launch of several new instruments to its surgical vitreoretinal portfolio. These instruments are designed to enable ophthalmic surgeons efficiently deliver vitreoretinal surgeries.
We are encouraged by Novartis' efforts to strengthen its ophthalmology division. We are also impressed by Novartis' efforts of realigning its portfolio in order to focus on its core portfolio of pharmaceuticals, ophthalmology and generics. Novartis' recent deal to acquire oncology products from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Analyst Report) and the divestiture of its Vaccines business are steps in the right direction. It will broaden the company's portfolio and enable it to concentrate on its core capabilities besides contributing immensely to the top line.
Novartis, a large-cap pharma, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Allergan (AGN - Analyst Report) and Gilead Sciences (GILD - Analyst Report). Both carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).