Shares of the Sunnyvale, California-based company were trading higher Monday after its approved leukemia drug Imbruvica was shown to help patients live longer than GlaxoSmithKline's Arzerra in a clinical trial published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, called RESONATE, showed Imbruvica reduced patients' risk of death by 57 percent compared with Arzerra.
Ian Somaiya, an analyst with Nomura Securities, said he found the detailed data "even stronger than initial impressions," and recommended buying Pharmacyclics stock ahead of a formal presentation of the data on Tuesday. (To get the latest Pharmacyclics quote, click here.)
Analysts and investors have been watching a potential competitor drug from AbbVie, called ABT-199, very closely. J.P. Morgan analyst Cory Kasimov noted the medicine, while appearing very effective, may have side effects that limit how long patients will take it, and said doctors may opt to use it after patients have tried other therapies including Imbruvica or Gilead's idelalisib, or potentially in combination with them.