Eylea may not be Regeneron Pharmaceuticals'
That's pretty impressive considering the age-related macular degeneration market that Regeneron had to enter. Eylea can be dosed less than half as often as Roche's Lucentis, which is a big deal for a drug that has to be injected into the eye. But Roche's cancer drug Avastin is used off-label at about a 40th the cost. To counteract that, Regeneron undercut Lucentis by offering Eylea at less than half the cost of the entrenched leader.
The strategy seems to have paid off. Getting doctors excited about a new drug seems to be half the battle with launches these days. Pent-up demand isn't enough; there hadn't been a drug approved for lupus in 50 years until Human Genome Sciences'
While the Eylea launch is going well, don't expect it to be an instant blockbuster like Vertex Pharmaceuticals'
This year's sales aren't enough to justify Regeneron's $7 billion market cap on their own. The rest of the value is tied up in the potential for Eylea -- Lucentis is a $2 billion product -- and its pipeline. Arcalyst is under FDA review for gout, which should boost the current paltry sales, and an application for its colorectal cancer drug, Zaltrap, is expected to be submitted shortly.
Eylea could get Regeneron to profitability on its own, but it'll be much easier with another drug and an expanded indication for Arcalyst.
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