Good news flowed in at
) with the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and
American Heart Association (AHA) panel of experts updating their
guidelines and issuing a class 1 recommendation for Brilinta
(ticagrelor). The class 1 recommendation was issued for the use of
Brilinta in invasively and non-invasively managed patients
suffering from unstable angina (UA) or non-ST-elevation myocardial
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We note that anti-platelet Brilinta has received the highest
recommendation issued by the guidelines committee. We believe that
this will encourage physicians to prescribe Brilinta and provide a
much needed boost to Brilinta sales.
Brilinta is approved for reducing the rate of heart attack and
cardiovascular (CV) events in adult patients with acute coronary
syndrome (ACS) including UA, NSTEMI and ST-elevation myocardial
Brilinta was approved in the US in July 2011. However, Brilinta's
sales have been lackluster so far. Brilinta sales amounted to $9
million in the first quarter of 2012 compared with $5 million in
the fourth quarter of 2011. In April 2012, AstraZeneca collaborated
The Medicines Company
) to market Brilinta in the US. The Medicines Company's strong
presence in the hospital setting should help drive Brilinta sales.
Brilinta competes with other drugs in the anti-platelet market
Bristol-Myers Squibb & Co.
) Plavix (clopidogrel) and
) Effient (prasugrel).
Neutral on AstraZeneca
We are encouraged by AstraZeneca's focus on high-potential emerging
markets and are pleased with its effort to drive the bottom line
through cost-cutting initiatives and share buybacks.
However, we remain concerned about the generic competition faced by
the company's key products. In 2011, the company lost revenues
worth almost $2 billion to generic competition. The weak late-stage
pipeline coupled with slow Brilinta uptake also bothers us.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on AstraZeneca. The
stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.