Pfizer Inc. ( PFE ) recently
announced that its rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Xeljanz, gained
approval in Japan. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and
Welfare (MHLW) approved Xeljanz for the treatment of rheumatoid
arthritis in adults who have not responded adequately to existing
Xeljanz can be used in patients in whom clinical symptoms
related to the disease remain even after the patients have
undergone treatment with at least one other disease-modifying
antirheumatic drug (DMARD), such as methotrexate.
Pfizer said that Xeljanz will be commercially launched once the
National Health Insurance listing is completed. Pfizer will be
promoting the product with Takeda Pharmaceutical (
TKPYY ) in Japan.
Pfizer also co-promotes Enbrel in Japan with Takeda.
We note that Xeljanz gained approval in the US in early Nov
2012. Xeljanz is the first oral treatment to gain approval in a new
class of medicines known as Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. The
product represents a new treatment option for patients who respond
inadequately to or are unable to tolerate methotrexate.
Pfizer currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Pfizer's 2013
guidance was in-line with expectations. While near-term earnings
will be driven by cost cutting efforts and share repurchases,
longer-term growth will depend on the success of drug development.
The company's pipeline needs to deliver given the Lipitor loss of
exclusivity and the upcoming loss of exclusivity on additional
products in the next few years.
Currently, large-cap pharma companies like Eli
Lilly ( LLY
) and Novo Nordisk ( NVO ) look
better-positioned. Both are Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks.LILLY ELI & CO (LLY): Free Stock Analysis
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