New Osteoarthritis Treatment Could Precipitate Another Blockbuster Drug

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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) both saw handy gains on Thursday after the companies posted positive topline results from their late-stage trial of fasinumab in patients with chronic pain from osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee or hip.

At the week 16 primary efficacy analysis, the study met both co-primary endpoints and all key secondary endpoints. Fasinumab-treated patients experienced significantly less pain and significantly improved functional ability from baseline compared to a placebo.

The fasinumab safety program was designed to capture all arthropathies (joint damage), including those identified due to symptoms and those identified by regularly scheduled radiographic monitoring, the first of which was scheduled at week 24.

Among the 65% of patients who had completed their first radiographic assessment, the placebo-adjusted rate of adjudicated arthropathies was about 2%. The majority of arthropathies were captured by the regularly scheduled radiographic monitoring and involved isolated joint space narrowing, called RPOA-1 (rapid progressive OA type 1). No cases of osteonecrosis have been identified to date in this study.

George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron, commented:

We are encouraged by these data and look forward to advancing our pivotal Phase 3 fasinumab program in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, who currently have very limited therapeutic choices to treat their chronic pain, other than with non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids.

Shares of Teva were last seen up about 4% at $23.45, with a consensus analyst price target of $21.09 and a 52-week trading range of $10.85 to $25.14.

Regeneron traded up about 2.5% at $371.08 a share, with a consensus price target of $406.05 and a 52-week range of $281.89 to $505.49.