16 marzo 2017

Kisqali . Will Pfizer's Growth Be Threatened by Novartis' New Cancer Drug? .

Novartis' New Cancer Drug Kisqali stands ready to challenge Pfizer's Ibrance. But how serious is the threat? .

Keith Speights (TMFFishBiz) Mar 15, 2017 ,

Question mark on top of moneyNovartis (NYSE:NVS) announced on Monday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Kisqali as a first-line treatment for hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) breast cancer. Soon, stories were running warning about the threat the new drug could pose to Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).

It's certainly true that Kisqali is going to compete against Pfizer's successful cancer drug Ibrance. But will Novartis actually threaten Pfizer's growth prospects?

Ibrance vs. Kisqali
Late-stage study results appear to indicate similar efficacy for Ibrance and Kisqali, although no direct head-to-head studies have been conducted. Pfizer reported a median progression-free survival (PFS) rate of 24.8 months for women taking Ibrance plus letrozole compared with 14.5 months for patients taking letrozole alone. Novartis reported a median PFS of 25.3 months for Kisqali plus letrozole and 16.0 months for letrozole alone.

Novartis is pricing Kisqali at an 18% to 20% discount below Ibrance's price, however. Could this lower price cut into Pfizer's sales? Maybe, but there's another important consideration.

Kisqali can cause a heart rhythm disorder known as QT prolongation, which can result in fast, chaotic heartbeats and even lead to death. Physicians will have to closely monitor patients taking the drug.

That could be problematic for Novartis. Physicians could prefer to prescribe Ibrance rather than Kisqali, since Ibrance doesn't have the safety warning related to QT prolongation. The primary safety issue that can occur with taking Ibrance (neutropenia) also occurs with Kisqali.