Danish drugmaker H. Lundbeck A/S (LUN) rose the most in a month after saying its anti-depressant Brintellix showed a cognitive benefit in a study, addressing an overlooked aspect of depression.
Brintellix, approved in the U.S. and Europe this year to treat major depression, showed a statistically significant improvement in cognitive function in a study of 600 patients, Copenhagen-based Lundbeck said in a statement. The study was presented at a medical meeting yesterday and pushed the shares up 4.2 percent to 131 kroner, the highest price since August 2011.
The benefit, reflected in speed of processing, attention and executive function, gives Brintellix another advantage compared with other anti-depressants that work differently, Deutsche Bank AG analyst Tim Race said in a note to investors today. He raised his peak sales forecast to $1.85 billion in 2019 from $1.5 billion.
“Building on this data will be key to achieving not just blockbuster but also multibillion dollar sales potential for Brintellix that would be transformational to Lundbeck earnings,” said Race, who rates Lundbeck a buy. “We continue to grow in confidence for Lundbeck’s long-term success.”
Lundbeck will also complete a trial next year comparing cognition in patients taking Brintellix compared with those taking Eli Lilly & Co.’s Cymbalta, the market leader, Andreas Eggert, Lundbeck’s head of global product strategy, said in an interview in October.
Given that the drug is showing benefits in improving concentration and decision making, the company is starting to investigate the possibility of its use for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Eggert said. Together with Japanese partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., new studies on ADHD may begin next year, he said.
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