Eli Lilly Leaps 13% On Positive Results For Its Verzenio Breast Cancer Therapy

Shares in Eli Lilly & Co (LLY) jumped 13% after the drugmaker reported that the results of a late stage study of its breast cancer therapy Verzenio met the primary endpoint of “significantly” reducing its recurrence in early stages.

The stock surged 13% to $159.40 in early market trading after the drugmaker disclosed positive results of its Verzenio therapy in a Phase 3 study of 5,637 people whose early breast cancer is at a high risk of recurrence. Despite progress in the treatment of breast cancer, about 30% of people diagnosed with early breast cancer are at risk of their cancer returning.

The results demonstrated that Verzenio in combination with standard adjuvant endocrine therapy (ET) met the primary endpoint of invasive disease-free survival (IDFS), significantly decreasing the risk of breast cancer recurrence or death compared to standard adjuvant therapy alone.

The Phase 3 monarchE study results is making Verzenio the only CDK4 & 6 inhibitor to demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in the risk of cancer recurrence for people with high risk hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) early breast cancer, the company said.

“When a person is diagnosed with high risk early stage breast cancer, they strive to do everything in their power to prevent a recurrence,” said Maura Dickler, vice president of oncology at Lilly Oncology. “monarchE was intentionally designed for people whose breast cancer is at a high risk of returning. We are incredibly excited by the results of monarchE and that we can potentially offer a new treatment option for patients with high risk HR+, HER2- early breast cancer.”

Eli Lilly plans to submit data from the monarchE study to regulatory authorities around the world before the end of this year.

The drugmaker’s shares have been on a winning streak since March 23, and are now up 20% on a year-to-date basis.

Mizuho Securities analyst Vamil Divan reiterated a Hold rating on the stock with a $155 price target, saying that while there are limited details provided in the report, the news is a clear positive for Lilly.

Wall Street analysts are cautiously optimistic about Lilly’s stock outlook. The Moderate Buy consensus is split between 5 Buy rating versus 4 Hold ratings. In light of the recent share rally, the $165 average price target implies 2.9% upside potential in the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Eli Lilly’s stock analysis on TipRanks).

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