) recently announced that its partner,
Johnson & Johnson
Janssen Research and Development unit has initiated a phase III
program (n~1,800) to evaluate a three-month injectable version of
their schizophrenia drug Invega Sustenna.
The program, which consists of two studies, will evaluate the
safety, efficacy and tolerability of the new version of the drug.
While the first study (n~500) will evaluate the safety, efficacy
and tolerability of the three-month version of Invega Sustenna
versus placebo, the second study (n~1,300) will compare the new
version with the monthly injectable version of Invega Sustenna.
Both studies are expected to be completed by the second half of
We note that the once-a-month formulation of Invega Sustenna is
available in the US since 2009. The drug is marketed in the EU
under the trade name Xeplion. Invega Sustenna/Xeplion treats the
symptoms of schizophrenia such as depression, blunted emotions and
social withdrawal and reduces their chances of coming back.
We believe that the successful development and subsequent
commercialization of the new version of the drug would boost its
sales potential. Moreover, the market for schizophrenia, a chronic
disorder of the brain, offers significant commercial potential. The
mental disorder is estimated to affect approximately 2.4 million
people in the US alone according to the National Institutes of
Health. Across the globe, it is estimated that schizophrenia
affects one in every 100 individuals.
Invega Sustenna/Xeplion is marketed globally by Johnson &
Johnson. Alkermes gets royalties from Johnson & Johnson on
global sales of the drug which is manufactured with the aid of the
former's proprietary technology for nanoparticles.
Currently, we have a Neutral stance on Alkermes in the long run.
The company carries a Zacks #3 Rank ("Hold" rating) in the short
run. Our stance is similar on Johnson & Johnson.
ALKERMES INC (ALKS): Free Stock Analysis Report
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