"I am highly confident that at the end of the day, when all the cards are on the table, we will be, not only the JAK1 and 2 inhibitor that is two to three years ahead of any potential competition, but that we have the best compound."
-- Paul Friedman, President and CEO of Incyte (Nasdaq: INCY).

Them's fighting words. Then again, with data like this, management is allowed a long-winded strut.

Without a question, Incyte's compound, INCB18424, works in myelofibrosis. The drug helped 42% of patients reduce the size of their spleen by at least 35% compared to less than 1% of patients taking placebo. There's a 0.01% chance that happened by chance alone.

Now that it has positive phase 3 results, it's time to get a brand name for the thing; INCB18424 just isn't that catchy.

Incyte plans to apply for Food and Drug Administration approval in the second quarter of next year. Its ex-U.S. marketing partner, Novartis (NYSE: NVS), will have a second trial in myelofibrosis early next year, but Incyte doesn't think the FDA will require it for approval. Still, with positive data like this, I have a hard time seeing the second trial clouding its chance for approval.

What are the other compounds that Friedman isn't worried about? YM BioSciences' (AMEX: YMI) has presented interim data from its phase 1/2 clinical trial testing CYT387 against myelofibrosis. Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX) has a JAK2 specific inhibitor that it licensed from S*BIO, ONX 0803, that has presented phase 2 data as well. And sanofi-aventis (NYSE: SNY) also has a myelofibrosis JAK2 specific drug, TG 101348, thanks to its recent acquisition of TargeGen.

There's no doubt Incyte is further ahead than the competition. It remains to be seen whether INCB18424 turns out to be better than the rest.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.