) announced positive top-line results from a phase II trial, BOLT
(Basal cell carcinoma Outcomes in LDE225 Trial) on skin cancer
We note that Novartis is evaluating LDE225 for the treatment
of advanced basal cell carcinoma.
The BOLT trial is being conducted to assess the safety and
efficacy of two oral dose levels of LDE225 (200 mg and 800 mg) in
patients suffering from locally advanced or metastatic basal cell
The study met its primary endpoint of achieving an objective
response rate in patients within six months of treatment. The
objective responses include complete response (clinically
significant tumor response with complete absence of disease) and
partial response (clinically significant tumor shrinkage).
We note that Novartis is also evaluating LDE225 for the
treatment of myelofibrosis, leukemia and solid tumors.
We are encouraged by Novartis' efforts to develop various
treatments for cancer. The company recently announced the
acquisition of a privately held biotechnology company, CoStim
CoStim Pharma is a biotechnology company, which focuses on
harnessing the immune system to eliminate immune-blocking signals
CoStim Pharma's acquisition will strengthen Novartis' position
in cancer immunotherapy discovery programs.
The acquisition will add late discovery stage immunotherapy
programs directed to several targets, including PD-1 to Novartis'
We remind investors that Novartis boasts of a strong oncology
portfolio with drugs like Gleevec, Sandostatin SC/Sandostatin
LAR, Afinitor, Exjade, Zometa, Femara and Jakavi among
Hence, the development of cancer immunotherapy agents will
further complement the extensive portfolio of drugs.
Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some
better-ranked stocks include
). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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