Good News for AstraZeneca - Analyst Blog

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Good News flowed in at AstraZeneca ( AZN ) from Germany when the country's medical assessment body (the Federal Joint Committee) issued a positive final verdict for the company's cardiovascular drug, Brilique. Brilique, which belongs to the cyclopentyltriazolopyrimidines (CPTPs) group, is an oral antiplatelet therapy for treating patients suffering from acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

The positive final assessment reaffirms the preliminary assessment in October this year that Brilique offers additional benefit to approximately 80% patients suffering from ACS in Germany. We note that data from the PLATO ( PLAT elet Inhibition and Patient O utcomes) study revealed that Brilique was superior to Bristol-Myers Squibb/ Sanofi ' ( BMY / SNY ) blood thinner Plavix.

Brilique is already prescribed by doctors in Germany according to the available local guidance. However, per the German law AMNOG (Arzneimittelmarkt-Neuordnungsgesetz), effective from 2011, it is compulsory for newly introduced drugs to obtain pricing assessment. The positive assessment represents the first decision by the G-BA under AMNOG as Brilique is the first drug to be sctrutinized under the new scheme. AstraZeneca is expected to commence pricing discussions next month.

Currently Brilique is approved in 55 countries including EU (December 2010) and the US (July 2011). AstraZeneca markets the drug as Brilinta in the US for the prevention of thrombotic events in patients suffering from ACS.

Our Recommendation

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on AstraZeneca. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run. Even though we are encouraged by the strong cardiovascular franchise at AstraZeneca and the company's focus on the high-potential emerging markets, we remain concerned about the generic competition faced by its key products. The job cuts are a part of the company's cost-cutting initiatives in the face of increasing generic competition.

ASTRAZENECA PLC ( AZN ): Free Stock Analysis Report

BRISTOL-MYERS ( BMY ): Free Stock Analysis Report

SANOFI-AVENTIS ( SNY ): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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