Allergan backs push for fibroids awareness month ahead of Esmya approval filing

Allergan filmed White Dress Project founder Tanika Gray Valbrun's story in observance of Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month.

Pharma companies are big on disease awareness, but Allergan is going really big with its latest push: It’s aiming for a whole month dedicated to uterine fibroids.

The company’s women’s health unit is financially supporting the White Dress Project, an organization focused on driving uterine fibroid research and education, to expand recognition of July as Uterine Fibroid Awareness Month. It's observed only in New York, Florida and Georgia now. Allergan wants it to go nationwide.

"It's very encouraging that an organization like Allergan has stepped up to help ... more women feel supported by a community that better understands the suffering they may experience with fibroids,” White Dress Project founder Tanika Gray Valbrun said in a statement.

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And the drugmaker isn’t stopping there. To correspond with Fibroid Awareness Month, it’s rolled out the first in a series of video patient storiesValbrun’s.

“I’ve had four blood transfusions because of my level of anemia, so it just gets really emotional for me when I think about how people really don’t think this is a big deal,” she says in the video interview, adding, “I’m sharing my story today not because I’m completely comfortable, not because this is easy for me, but because it has to be done.”

Meanwhile, Allergan is ushering long-delayed fibroids treatment Esmya, which it has pegged as a potential blockbuster, toward approval. In two pivotal studies, the drug became the first for the condition to prove safe and effective. But while the patient population is sizablean estimated 26 million American women between the ages of 15 and 50, Allergan saysanalysts aren’t sure Esmya’s revenue haul will be, too.

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As Barclays analyst Doug Tsao wrote in January, the FDA could restrict Esmya’s patient population only to women eligible for fibroid surgery. It’s also unclear whether regulators would restrict dosing of the once-daily treatment to two cycles.

That uncertaintyas well as forthcoming competition from AbbVie and Neurocrine Biosciences’ phase 3 contender elagolixare tamping down expectations for the med; Tsao cited a $286 million peak sales consensus estimate from First Order Analytics. That falls well below the $500 million to $1 billion range Allergan itself has outlined.