Neurocrine goes high—$60K-plus high—with price for new movement drug Ingrezza

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Neurocrine's Ingrezza bears a wholesale acquisition cost of $5,275 for a 30-count bottle of 40 mg capsules.

Neurocrine is out with its price for Ingrezza—and it’s even higher than some industry watchers expected.

The company has slapped a $5,275 sticker on a 30-count bottle of 40 mg capsules of the once-daily med, the first and only treatment for the involuntary movement disorder tardive dyskinesia. Multiply that by 12, and you’ve got a yearly sum of $63,300.

Neurocrine is also this year anticipating an FDA go-ahead for its 80 mg version, which it says it expects will be “priced substantially similar” to its 40 mg counterpart. The company did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

RELATED: Neurocrine nabs Ingrezza OK to kick-start tardive dyskinesia market, with Teva waiting in the wings

The San Diego drugmaker had recently said that it would keep its price in the previously discussed $20,000 to $60,000 range, Barclay’s analyst Geoff Meacham wrote to clients last week. Upon winning its FDA nod last month, Neurocrine said Ingrezza would be “competitively priced” with Teva’s Austedo, a newly approved Huntington’s drug that’s chasing its own TD nod.

Neurocrine’s wholesale price exceeds Teva’s, which the Israeli drugmaker set at $60,000 to undercut Huntington’s generics. But as the biotech told Meacham, it expects Teva to set Austedo’s TD price at about $70,000 per year, given the per-milligram cost and dosage in clinical trials.

Meanwhile, Neurocrine is busy making sure things go smoothly with payers despite Ingrezza’s high price tag. As CEO Kevin Gorman recently said in an interview, the company has been “engaging payers for quite a long time,” with a team of national account managers meeting with payers public and private, national and regional over “the last several months.”

RELATED: The top 10 drug launches of 2017 - Ingrezza

And as management told Meacham, with commercial insurers, “prior authorization and doctor-required paperwork will likely be minimal, allowing for easy prescribing.” The company “sees more hurdles in the Medicare, Medicaid and dual-eligible populations,” though, and states with large Medicaid populations—New York and California, for example—“are likely to take the full 180 days allowed by law before providing coverage,” Meacham wrote.

Overall, Meacham and his peers expect “the hurdle of defining and building the market in TD” to keep sales modest, at least initially; Wall Street's Ingrezza expectations are “quite low for 2017,” he wrote, at just $14.5 million. Next year, though, should see “more of a ... ramp,” with consensus pegged at $105 million. 

Separately, Neurocrine inked a manufacturing agreement with Patheon, it said in a regulatory filing. Under the pact, Neurocrine will supply the active pharmaceutical ingredients for Ingrezza to Patheon, which will manufacture capsules, conduct quality control and assurance, provide packaging and more.