) ophthalmology division, Alcon, received encouraging news when
Simbrinza was approved by the European Commission.
Simbrinza has been approved in Europe to decrease elevated
intraocular pressure (IOP) in adult patients with open-angle
glaucoma or ocular hypertension for which monotherapy provides
insufficient IOP reduction.
Alcon conducted two pivotal six month phase III studies to
evaluate safety and efficacy of Simbrinza administered twice daily
in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension who
were insufficiently controlled on monotherapy or were already using
multiple IOP-lowering medications. Both studies met their primary
Alcon will launch Simbrinza in the UK in the third quarter of
2014. Thereafter, it will be launched in other European markets
later in 2014 and in 2015. We note that Simbrinza was approved by
the FDA in 2013.
The approval does not surprise us as the Committee for Medicinal
Products for Human Use (CHMP) had issued a positive opinion to
Simbrinza in May 2014.
Meanwhile, we cautiously watch Novartis' efforts to realign its
portfolio in order to focus on its core portfolio of
pharmaceuticals, eyecare and generics. We believe Novartis' recent
deal to acquire oncology products from GlaxoSmithKline (
) and the divestiture of the Vaccines business is a step in the
right direction. It will broaden Novartis' portfolio and enable it
to focus better on its core capabilities besides contributing
immensely to the top line.
Novartis, a large-cap pharma, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3
(Hold). Right now, Allergan (
) and AbbVie (
) look well positioned among the large-cap pharmas. While Allergan
carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), AbbVie is a Zacks Rank #2
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