AbbVie Higher on Rinvoq Trial Progress to Treat Spinal Arthritis

By Dan Weil

AbbVie  (ABBV Get AbbVie, Inc. Report on Thursday reported progress in a Phase 3 trial of Rinvoq to treat ankylosing spondylitis, an arthritis condition affecting primarily the spine.

The study evaluated Rinvoq in patients with active AS who had “an inadequate response to biologic [disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug] therapy,” the company said.

“In this study, Rinvoq met its primary endpoint of assessment in SpondyloArthritis International Society 40 response and all ranked secondary endpoints at week 14.

“Significantly more Rinvoq-treated patients achieved ASAS40 response at week 14 compared to placebo (45% versus 18%).”

AbbVie shares recently traded at $111.56, up 2.1%. Abbvie has climbed 5% in the past six months.

In mid-September, BMO analyst Gary Nachman said AbbVie’s selloff was overdone after a Sept. 1 setback for Rinvoq. He has an outperform rating and a $133 price target.

On Sept. 1, the Food and Drug Administration mandated new heart safety and cancer warnings for Rinvoq and other companies’ JAK inhibitor class of medicines.

“Physicians agreed Rinvoq is still likely to get approved for atopic dermatitis, given its overall risk/benefit,” Nachman said. “Even with limited use, it could still be a solid opportunity.”

Morningstar analyst Damien Conover puts fair value at $108 for AbbVie stock. He, too, thinks Rinvoq will ultimately be approved for a number of indications.

“We believe the drug will gain several important new indications (including atopic dermatitis and ulcerative colitis) with the FDA’s safety concerns largely addressed within the label of the drug,” he wrote in July.

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