Astellas Pharma, Inc.'s
) shares gained 2.5% following the company's update on its
pipeline. The company also provided a comprehensive overview of its
initiatives towards innovation, research and development and its
Astellas is currently focused on the development of its oncology
pipeline. In May 2014, Astellas and partner
) received priority review status for Xtandi from the FDA for the
treatment of patients suffering from advanced prostate cancer who
are chemotherapy-naive. A response from the FDA should be out by
Sep 18, 2014.
Xtandi is already approved for the treatment of metastatic
castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients who have been
treated with Taxotere previously. In 2013, U.S. net sales for
Xtandi were $392.4 million.
According to Medivation, there is stronger-than-expected demand in
the market for post-chemotherapy treatment for mCRPC patients. On
its first quarter call, Medivation said that a majority of
physicians consider Xtandi as the preferred choice of treatment in
the post-chemo setting. Approval for Xtandi for chemotherapy-naive
advanced prostate cancer patients will expand the eligible patient
population and boost Xtandi's sales significantly.
Additionally, in a phase II study roxadustat showed efficacy in
anemia correction and maintenance in dialysis as well as
non-dialysis patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.
Roxadustat is currently in a phase III study for this indication in
Europe. Astellas' VESIcare/Myrbetriq combination is also in a phase
III study for the treatment of overactive bladder.
Meanwhile, the company is preparing to initiate a phase III program
on ASP015K for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
We note that Astellas has a collaboration agreement with
) for the development and commercialization of five of Amgen's
candidates in Japan, which includes rilotumumab (gastric cancer),
evolocumab (hyperlipidemia) and romosozumab (osteoporosis).
Astellas carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). A better-ranked stock in
the health care sector is
Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
), carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
(We are reissuing this article to correct a mistake. The
original article, issued July 16, 2014, should no longer be relied
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