) recently announced encouraging data on lampalizumab from a
multi-centre randomized phase II study, MAHALO.
The data from the study showed that patients suffering from
advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) when
treated with lampalizumab showed a 20.4% reduction in the area of
geographic atrophy (GA) at the end of 18 months.
Hence, the phase II study met its primary end point in slowing
the progression of GA lesions in patients suffering from advanced
We note that Roche already has Lucentis in its product
portfolio for the treatment of wet AMD. While Roche has rights to
Lucentis in the U.S.,
) markets Lucentis in the rest of the world.
The successful development and commercialization of
lampalizumab will further strengthen Roche's ophthalmology
franchise which accounted for 4% of total sales in 2012.
Lucentis is also approved to treat macular edema following
retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and diabetic macular edema (DME).
Lucentis generated sales of CHF 820 million in the first half of
2013, up 9% year over year.
In Feb 2013, the FDA approved a label expansion of Lucentis to
include a less frequent dosing regimen in wet AMD.
We are encouraged by Roche's efforts to expand its portfolio
Roche currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We were
impressed by the company's solid performance in the first half of
Roche continues to expect sales in 2013 to increase in line
with 2012 growth rates. Roche expects core earnings per share to
grow at a higher rate than sales in 2013. We believe the company
is likely to achieve its annual targets.
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) look attractive, each with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).