Celgene Corporation (CELG) was up 1.7% after the company announced that its oncology drug, Abraxane, has received a positive recommendation from the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) within the National Health Service (NHS) Scotland. The SMC rendered a positive recommendation on Abraxane in combination with Eli Lilly and Company’s (LLY) Gemzar (gemcitabine) for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer. The SMC decision will make Abraxane accessible to all eligible pancreatic cancer patients in Scotland.
As per Information Services Division Scotland, approximately 770 new patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. Pancreatic cancer causes almost 5% of all cancer deaths in Scotland. Following the SMC decision eligible patients in Scotland will be now be able to access Abraxane for free on the NHS.
We note that the SMC decision comes after NHS England deferred its review of Abraxane for metastatic pancreatic cancer. Abraxane will remain on the National Cancer Drugs Fund list until a final decision is made.
Last month, the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use rendered a positive opinion on Abraxane, to be used in combination with carboplatin for the first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults who are not eligible for surgery and/or radiation therapy. It is already approved in the U.S. as a first-line combination therapy for treating patients suffering from NSCLC.
The drug is also approved in the U.S. and E.U. for metastatic breast cancer and advanced pancreatic cancer. The drug was added to Celgene’s portfolio through the acquisition of Abraxis BioScience in Oct 2010.
In 2014, Abraxane sales were $848 million, up of 31% year over year. Abraxane net sales are expected to be in the range of $1,000 million to $1,250 million in 2015, representing an increase of 32.6% year over year based on the mid-point of the guidance range.
Celgene carries a Zack Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care space include Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALNY) and Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ACHN). Both stocks hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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