Yesterday, drugmaker QLT
QLT announced its Visudyne sales numbers earlier in the week, so there were no surprises with its 35% decline in revenue for the quarter. But more negative Visudyne news came today when the European Union (EU) marketing authorities decided to recommend an inferior label for the drug after it failed to improve patient outcomes for a subset of macular degeneration patients. QLT estimates that this negative labeling will affect up to 30% of the drug's EU prescriptions, although it will take many months for this to take effect.
Despite the negative European news today, QLT's management seemed optimistic about Visudyne's future (does it really have any other choice?). The company is continuing to project 40% market share of the drug in the long run for treating AMD if doctors start using it in combination therapy with other compounds like Genentech's
On the conference call, management expressed frustration with marketing partner Novartis
Management also mentioned on the call that the $42 million in sales of Eligard in the first quarter are on track to beating the top end of the company's guidance of $160 million in Eligard sales for the year. Despite this, Eligard sales forecasts will not be raised, due to the assumption that there will probably be a generic version of a competing hormone therapy product on the market some time in 2007.
As I said earlier in the week, "Value investors may get shares (of QLT) on an even bigger sale later in the year or in 2008 once the shoe drops on Visudyne's European sales." With the uglier labeling for the drug meaning an even bigger EU sales drop, this sale price opportunity may come sooner rather than later.
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