DME data helps Eylea soar in Q2--and poach market share from its Roche rivals

Earlier this year, Regeneron ($REGN) scored a win when its eye drug Eylea outperformed a pair of Roche ($RHHBY) meds in a head-to-head study. And now, that win is paying off.

Revenue doubled for the Tarrytown, NY-based company in the second quarter as U.S. sales of the treatment trumped analyst estimates and soared to $655 million, Regeneron said Tuesday. In the same period last year, the med hauled in $415 million in its home country.

The drugmaker has the NIH-sponsored Protocol T trial to thank for that leap. Back in February, Regeneron touted data showing that Eylea had bested Roche's eye med Lucentis and its Avastin--a cancer drug frequently used off-label in the eye--in patients with diabetic macular edema.

Those results drove the "bulk of Eylea growth" in Q2, Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum wrote in a note to clients, expanding the DME market and helping Eylea poach market share from the Roche tandem.

And now, Regeneron is expecting Eylea to post 45% to 50% U.S. growth over last year--a range it raised from the 30% to 35% it previously guided. It's the second straight quarter the company has upped its full-year forecasts for the therapy, Schoenebaum wrote.

The success of Eylea in DME builds on its success in its original indication of wet age-related macular degeneration. That nod helped Regeneron trounce analyst estimates quarter after quarter following its launch in November 2011.

These days, though, Regeneron has a new drug on the block, and that's Praluent, the PCSK9 med it developed with Sanofi ($SNY). The pair won an FDA nod for the cholesterol-fighter late last month, and Regeneron expects an "initial gradual uptake" as payer negotiations and reimbursement decisions take shape, Schoenebaum noted.

- read Regeneron's release

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