Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) and Sanofi announced that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan has granted marketing and manufacturing authorization for Praluent® (alirocumab) for the treatment of uncontrolled low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, in certain adult patients with hypercholesterolemia at high cardiovascular risk.
Praluent is a human monoclonal antibody targeting PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9). In Japan, Praluent is indicated for the treatment of patients with hypercholesterolemia and familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) who are at high cardiovascular risk and in whom treatment with statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) is not sufficient. Praluent 75 mg and 150 mg will be available in Japan as a single-dose pre-filled pen and syringe.
“Hypercholesterolemia is a significant concern in Japan, and many patients are not able to achieve their LDL cholesterol treatment goals despite current lipid-lowering therapy,” said Jay Edelberg, MD, Ph.D., Head of Cardiovascular Development, Sanofi. “For these patients, Praluent could be an important treatment option to help address their needs.”
Data from the global Phase 3 ODYSSEY trials showed consistent, robust reductions in LDL cholesterol for Praluent compared to placebo, when added to current standard-of-care, which included maximally-tolerated statins. The Phase 3 ODYSSEY JAPAN trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of Praluent 75 mg starting dose every two weeks, in comparison with placebo in 216 Japanese patients with primary hypercholesterolemia and LDL cholesterol of at least 100 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) (at least 2.59 millimoles per liter [mmol/L]). All study patients were on ongoing statin treatment with or without other lipid-lowering therapies. Average baseline LDL cholesterol levels in the randomized population were similar between the Praluent (141 mg/dL / 3.6 mmol/L) and placebo groups (142 mg/dL / 3.7 mmol/L). Patients in the Praluent group who did not achieve their pre-specified LDL cholesterol goals with Praluent 75 mg at week 8 (2 out of 140 patients who continued treatment beyond week 12) were increased to Praluent 150 mg every two weeks at week 12.
In the ODYSSEY JAPAN trial, Praluent reduced LDL cholesterol by 63 percent at week 24 on top of stable background statin therapy, compared to a 2 percent increase in the placebo group (p less than 0.0001, ITT analysis). Patients treated with Praluent maintained their LDL cholesterol reductions for the duration of the trial. By week 52, patients in the Praluent group achieved an average LDL cholesterol of 53.4 mg/dL (1.38 mmol/L) compared to an average LDL cholesterol of 135.6 mg/dL (3.51 mmol/L) in the placebo group (ITT population).
In the trial, Praluent was generally well-tolerated with an acceptable safety profile. Frequently reported adverse events included nasopharyngitis (46 percent Praluent versus 36 percent placebo); back pain (13 percent Praluent versus 6 percent placebo); and injection site reaction (13 percent Praluent versus 4 percent placebo).
“Results from the Japanese Phase 3 trial were consistent with the findings from our global ODYSSEY program that evaluated the efficacy and safety of Praluent in patients who required further reduction of their LDL cholesterol,” said Bill Sasiela, Ph.D., VP, Program Direction, Regeneron. “Notably, in the ODYSSEY JAPAN trial, 99 percent of patients were able to effectively reach their LDL cholesterol goals as defined by the Japan Atherosclerosis Societywith Praluent 75 mg Q2W and maintain these reductions for the duration of their therapy, up to 52 weeks.”
In ODYSSEY JAPAN, LDL cholesterol goals were defined according to the “Guidelines for Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Diseases 2012” published by the Japan Atherosclerosis Society (JAS) in which goals are set according to patients’ risk of cardiovascular events. The JAS guidelines define the risk of cardiovascular events as high when the patient has a history of coronary artery disease, a history of ischemic stroke (other than cardiogenic cerebral infarction), peripheral artery disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease, or in the presence of several risk factors for atherosclerosis.
In Japanese Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, adverse events were observed in 17 percent (33 of 193) of patients on Praluent 75 mg or 150 mg. The most common adverse event was injection site reactions in 22 cases (11.4 percent).
Praluent is also approved in the United States, European Union, Canada and Mexico. The effect of Praluent on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not yet been determined. (Original Source)
Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals closed last Friday at $358.5, up $9.27 or 2.65%. REGN has a 1-year high of $605.93 and a 1-year low of $329.09. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $375.27 and its 200-day moving average is $407.43.
On the ratings front, Regeneron has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 29, Bernstein Research analyst Ronny Gal assigned a Buy rating on REGN, with a price target of $400, which implies an upside of 11.6% from current levels. Separately, on June 23, Citigroup’s Robyn Karnauskas reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $470.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Ronny Gal and Robyn Karnauskas have a total average return of -10.9% and 5.8% respectively. Gal has a success rate of 44.4% and is ranked #3360 out of 4010 analysts, while Karnauskas has a success rate of 52.9% and is ranked #492.
The street is mostly Bullish on REGN stock. Out of 14 analysts who cover the stock, 7 suggest a Buy rating , 6 suggest a Hold and one recommends to Sell the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $478.50, which represents a potential upside of 33.5% from where the stock is currently trading.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. operates as a biopharmaceutical company. It discovers, invents, develops, manufactures, and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions. The company involves in marketing medicines for eye diseases, colorectal cancer and a rare inflammatory condition and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including hypercholesterolemia, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and atopic dermatitis. Its products include EYLEA (aflibercept) injection, which is used for the treatment of neovascular age related macular degeneration; ARCALYST (rilonacept), which is used for the treatment of Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndrome, including Familial Cold Auto-inflammatory Syndrome and Muckle-Wells Syndrome; and PRALUENT (alirocumab) Injection for treatment of adults with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, who require additional lowering of LDL- C. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals was founded by Alferd G. Gilman, Leonard S. Schleifer and Eric M. Shooter on January 8, 1988 and is headquartered in Tarrytown, NY.