Pfizer $PFE Stock Up On COVID Pill Positive Opinion

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PFE stock rose in pre-market trading on January 27, 2022, after the company received a positive CHMP opinion for its COVID-19 pill.

Pfizer Receives CHMP Positive Opinion for Novel COVID-19 Oral Treatment

On January 27, 2022, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a positive opinion recommending the conditional marketing authorization (CMA) of Pfizer’s PAXLOVID™ (nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332] tablets and ritonavir tablets) for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk for progressing to severe COVID-19.

“This expression of confidence in PAXLOVID comes at a critical moment as Europe addresses the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and as infection rates are on the rise in many countries across the globe,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “We are proud to have a strong manufacturing footprint in Europe, which will help support the production of up to 120 million courses of PAXLOVID globally. Pending conditional marketing authorization from the European Commission, we will continue working closely with EU Member State governments to ensure this important treatment can be made available to patients across Europe as quickly as possible.”

The CHMP based its positive opinion on the scientific evidence supporting PAXLOVID, including data from the Phase 2/3 EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in High-Risk Patients) trial, which enrolled non-hospitalized adults aged 18 and older with confirmed COVID-19 who are at increased risk of progressing to severe illness. The data showed that PAXLOVID reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% (within three days of symptom onset) and 88% (within five days of symptom onset) compared to placebo, with no deaths observed in the treatment group. Treatment-emergent adverse events were comparable between PAXLOVID (23%) and placebo (24%), most of which were mild in intensity. The data have been submitted to a peer-reviewed publication. Additional Phase 2/3 clinical trials are ongoing in adults at standard risk (i.e., low risk of hospitalization or death) of progressing to severe illness, and in those who have been exposed to the virus through household contacts.

PAXLOVID is currently approved or authorized for emergency use in more than 10 countries across the globe. In December, the CHMP issued advice under Article 5(3) of Regulation 726/2004 to support authorities of European Union (EU) Member States regarding the potential supply and use of PAXLOVID prior to EU conditional marketing authorization.

Pfizer is committed to working toward equitable access to PAXLOVID for all people, aiming to deliver safe and effective antiviral therapeutics as soon as possible and at an affordable price. During the pandemic, Pfizer will offer its oral therapy through a tiered pricing approach, pending country authorization or approval, based on the income level of each country to promote equity of access across the globe. High and upper-middle income countries will pay more than lower income countries.

Pfizer continues to invest to support the manufacturing and distribution of PAXLOVID, including exploring potential contract manufacturing options. As a result of these efforts, Pfizer has raised its production projections, with the potential ability to produce up to 120 million courses of treatment by the end of 2022.

The company has entered into agreements with multiple countries and has initiated bilateral outreach to more than 100 countries around the world. Additionally, Pfizer has signed a voluntary license agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for its oral treatment to help expand access, pending country regulatory authorization or approval, in 95 low- and middle-income countries that account for approximately 53% of the world’s population.

PAXLOVID is a SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) inhibitor (also known as SARS-CoV2 3CL protease inhibitor) therapy. It was developed to be administered orally so that it can be prescribed at the first sign of infection or, pending clinical success of the rest of the EPIC development program and subject to regulatory authorization, at first awareness of an exposure – potentially helping patients avoid severe illness (which can lead to hospitalization and death) or avoid disease development following contact with a household member who contracts COVID-19. Nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332], which originated in Pfizer laboratories, is designed to block the activity of the Mpro, an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate. Co-administration with a low dose of ritonavir helps slow the metabolism, or breakdown, of nirmatrelvir in order for it to remain active in the body for longer periods of time at higher concentrations to help combat the virus.

Nirmatrelvir is designed to inhibit viral replication at a stage known as proteolysis, which occurs before viral RNA replication. In preclinical studies, nirmatrelvir did not demonstrate evidence of mutagenic DNA interactions.

Current variants of concern can be resistant to treatments that work by binding to the spike protein found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. PAXLOVID, however, works intracellularly by binding to the highly conserved Mpro of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to inhibit viral replication. Nirmatrelvir has shown consistent in vitro antiviral activity against earlier and current variants of concern (i.e., Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Lambda, Mu, and Omicron).

PAXLOVID is administered at a dose of 300 mg (two 150 mg tablets) of nirmatrelvir with one 100 mg tablet of ritonavir, given twice-daily for five days. One carton contains five blister packs of PAXLOVID, as co-packaged nirmatrelvir tablets with ritonavir tablets, providing all required doses for a full five-day treatment course.

The EPIC (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19) Phase 2/3 development program for PAXLOVID consists of three clinical trials spanning a broad spectrum of patients, including adults who have been exposed to the virus through household contacts, as well as adults at both standard risk and high risk of progressing to severe illness.​

In July 2021, Pfizer initiated the first of these trials, known as EPIC-HR, a randomized, double-blind study of non-hospitalized adults with COVID-19, who are at high risk of progressing to severe illness. At the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee and in consultation with the U.S. FDA, Pfizer ceased further enrollment into the study in early November 2021 due to the overwhelming efficacy demonstrated in these results. Findings from the EPIC-HR final analysis have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

In August 2021, Pfizer began the Phase 2/3 EPIC-SR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in Standard-Risk Patients), to evaluate efficacy and safety in adults with a confirmed diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection who are at standard risk (i.e., low risk of hospitalization or death). EPIC-SR includes a cohort of vaccinated adults who have an acute breakthrough symptomatic COVID-19 infection and who have risk factors for severe illness. Interim data from this study have been reported. In September, Pfizer initiated the Phase 2/3 EPIC-PEP (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) to evaluate efficacy and safety in adults exposed to SARS-CoV-2 by a household member. These trials are ongoing.

In the final analysis of the primary endpoint from all patients enrolled in EPIC-HR, an 89% reduction in COVID-19-related hospitalization or death from any cause compared to placebo in patients treated within three days of symptom onset was observed, consistent with the interim analysis. In addition, a consistent safety profile was observed.

0.7% of patients who received PAXLOVID were hospitalized through Day 28 following randomization (5/697 hospitalized with no deaths), compared to 6.5% of patients who received placebo and were hospitalized or died (44/682 hospitalized with 9 subsequent deaths). The statistical significance of these results was high (p<0.0001). In a secondary endpoint, PAXLOVID reduced the risk of hospitalization or death for any cause by 88% compared to placebo in patients treated within five days of symptom onset; 0.8% of patients who received PAXLOVID were hospitalized or died through Day 28 following randomization (8/1039 hospitalized with no deaths), compared to 6.3% of patients who received placebo (66/1046 hospitalized with 12 subsequent deaths), with high statistical significance (p<0.0001). Relative risk reduction was 94% in patients 65 years of age or older, one of the populations at highest risk for hospitalization or death; 1.1% of patients who received PAXLOVID were hospitalized through Day 28 (1/94 hospitalized with no deaths), compared to 16.3% of patients who received placebo (16/98 hospitalized with 6 deaths), with high statistical significance (p<0.0001). In the overall study population through Day 28, no deaths were reported in patients who received PAXLOVID as compared to 12 (1.2%) deaths in patients who received placebo.

In the EPIC-HR trial, in a secondary endpoint, SARS-CoV-2 viral load at baseline and Day 5 have been evaluated for 499 patients. After accounting for baseline viral load, geographic region, and serology status, PAXLOVID reduced viral load by approximately 10-fold relative to placebo, indicating robust activity against SARS-CoV-2 and representing the strongest viral load reduction reported to date for an oral COVID-19 agent.

Treatment-emergent adverse events were comparable between PAXLOVID (23%) and placebo (24%), most of which were mild in intensity. Fewer serious adverse events (1.6% vs. 6.6%) and discontinuation of study drug due to adverse events (2.1% vs. 4.2%) were observed in patients dosed with PAXLOVID, compared to placebo, respectively.

All other secondary endpoints for this study, which are available on clinicaltrials.gov (NCT04960202) and EudraCT (2021-002895-38), were not yet available for this review.

PAXLOVID has not been approved, but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an EUA, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct SARS CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high-risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

The emergency use of PAXLOVID is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the emergency use of the unapproved product PAXLOVID for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

PAXLOVID is not authorized for initiation of treatment in patients requiring hospitalization due to severe or critical COVID-19
PAXLOVID is not authorized for use as pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19
PAXLOVID is not authorized for use for longer than 5 consecutive days

PAXLOVID may only be prescribed for an individual patient by physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, and physician assistants that are licensed or authorized under state law to prescribe drugs in the therapeutic class to which PAXLOVID belongs (i.e., anti-infectives).

PAXLOVID is not approved for any use, including for use for the treatment of COVID-19.

PAXLOVID is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of PAXLOVID under 564(b)(1) of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.

PAXLOVID is contraindicated in patients with a history of clinically significant hypersensitivity reactions (eg, toxic epidermal necrolysis [TEN] or Stevens-Johnson syndrome) to its active ingredients (nirmatrelvir or ritonavir) or any other components of the product.

PAXLOVID is contraindicated with drugs that are highly dependent on CYP3A for clearance and for which elevated concentrations are associated with serious and/or life-threatening reactions:

  1. Alpha1-adrenoreceptor antagonist: alfuzosin
  2. Analgesics: pethidine, piroxicam, propoxyphene
  3. Antianginal: ranolazine
  4. Antiarrhythmic: amiodarone, dronedarone, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine
  5. Anti-gout: colchicine
  6. Antipsychotics: lurasidone, pimozide, clozapine
  7. Ergot derivatives: dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine
  8. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors: lovastatin, simvastatin
  9. PDE5 inhibitor: sildenafil (Revatio®) when used for pulmonary arterial hypertension
  10. Sedative/hypnotics: triazolam, oral midazolam

PAXLOVID is contraindicated with drugs that are potent CYP3A inducers where significantly reduced nirmatrelvir or ritonavir plasma concentrations may be associated with the potential for loss of virologic response and possible resistance. PAXLOVID cannot be started immediately after discontinuation of any of the following medications due to the delayed offset of the recently discontinued CYP3A inducer:

  1. Anticancer agents: apalutamide
  2. Anticonvulsant: carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
  3. Antimycobacterials: rifampin
  4. Herbal Products: St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum)

There are limited clinical data available for PAXLOVID. Serious and unexpected adverse events may occur that have not been previously reported with PAXLOVID use.

Risk of Serious Adverse Reactions Due to Drug Interactions: Initiation of PAXLOVID, a CYP3A inhibitor, in patients receiving medications metabolized by CYP3A or initiation of medications metabolized by CYP3A in patients already receiving PAXLOVID, may increase plasma concentrations of medications metabolized by CYP3A. Initiation of medications that inhibit or induce CYP3A may increase or decrease concentrations of PAXLOVID, respectively. These interactions may lead to:

  1. Clinically significant adverse reactions, potentially leading to severe, life-threatening, or fatal events from greater exposures of concomitant medications
  2. Clinically significant adverse reactions from greater exposures of PAXLOVID
  3. Loss of therapeutic effect of PAXLOVID and possible development of viral resistance
  4. Consult Table 1 of the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers for clinically significant drug interactions, including contraindicated drugs. Consider the potential for drug interactions prior to and during PAXLOVID therapy; review concomitant medications during PAXLOVID therapy and monitor for the adverse reactions associated with the concomitant medications.

Hepatotoxicity: Hepatic transaminase elevations, clinical hepatitis, and jaundice have occurred in patients receiving ritonavir. Therefore, caution should be exercised when administering PAXLOVID to patients with pre-existing liver diseases, liver enzyme abnormalities, or hepatitis.

Because nirmatrelvir is co-administered with ritonavir, there may be a risk of HIV-1 developing resistance to HIV protease inhibitors in individuals with uncontrolled or undiagnosed HIV-1 infection.

Adverse events in the PAXLOVID group (≥1%) that occurred at a greater frequency (≥5 subject difference) than in the placebo group were dysgeusia (6% and <1%, respectively), diarrhea (3% and 2%), and hypertension (1% and <1%), and myalgia (1% and <1%). The proportions of subjects who discontinued treatment due to an adverse event were 2% in the PAXLOVID group and 4% in the placebo group.

Required Reporting for Serious Adverse Events and Medication Errors: The prescribing healthcare provider and/or the provider’s designee are/is responsible for mandatory reporting of all serious adverse events and medication errors potentially related to PAXLOVID within 7 calendar days from the onset of the event.

📺 Pfizer starting trial for Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer starting trial for Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine

📈 PFE Stock Technical Analysis

PFE stock chart as of January 27, 2022, is in uptrend.

The long-term trend is positive and the short-term trend is negative. It is probably better to wait until this picture becomes clearer. PFE is one of the better-performing stocks in the Pharmaceuticals industry, it outperforms 97% of 267 stocks in the same industry. PFE is currently trading in the middle of its 52-week range. This is in line with the S&P500 Index, which is also trading in the middle of its range.

There is support at 52.78 from a horizontal line in the weekly time frame. There is also support at 51.53 from a horizontal line in the daily time frame. Finally, there is support at 45.13 from a trend line in the weekly time frame.

There is a resistance zone ranging from 53.17 to 55.20. This zone is formed by a combination of multiple trend lines and important moving averages in multiple time frames. There is also resistance at 56.70 from a horizontal line in the daily time frame.

PFE has an average technical rating and it also does not offer a high-quality setup at the moment. PFE stock has a Setup Rating of 3 out of 10. Price movement has been a little bit too volatile to find a nice entry and exit point. It is probably a good idea to wait for a consolidation first. Click here to sign up for email alerts on when PFE stock consolidates and has a Setup Rating of 8 or higher.

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