Eli Lilly and Company
) recently announced a pipeline setback with its oncology
candidate, enzastaurin, failing in a phase III study. Eli Lilly
was evaluating enzastaurin as a monotherapy for the prevention of
relapse in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
Results from the phase III PRELUDE study showed that
enzastaurin failed to show a statistically significant
improvement in disease-free survival compared to placebo in
patients at high risk of relapse following treatment with
) Rituxan (rituximab)-based chemotherapy.
The company said that safety data was similar to data
presented from earlier studies. Full results from the PRELUDE
study will be presented at an upcoming meeting.
With enzastaurin failing to show a statistically significant
improvement in the PRELUDE study, Eli Lilly has decided to
discontinue development of the candidate. As a result, the
company expects to take a charge of about $30 million in the
second quarter of 2013.
The discontinuation of the development of the phase III
oncology candidate is highly disappointing - enzastaurin was one
of the candidates in the company's pipeline for which a new drug
application could have been filed later this year.
Eli Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Eli Lilly
is currently going through a patent cliff with its erstwhile
blockbuster drug, Zyprexa, having gone off-patent. Later this
year, another blockbuster drug, Cymbalta, will lose exclusivity.
In this scenario, Eli Lilly's pipeline needs to deliver.
The Animal Health business and the diabetes franchise should
provide some downside support. We are also pleased to see Eli
Lilly pursuing small acquisitions and in-licensing deals to boost
Currently, companies like
) look attractive in the biopharma space. Both are Zacks Rank #1
(Strong Buy) stocks.
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