Biohaven's ambitious Nurtec ODT marketing strategy pays dividends with doctors in migraine market: analyst

The next-gen CGRP migraine treatment market is holding steady with docs, even as oral competitor Nurtec burns through scripts. (AsiaVision/Getty Images)

Biohaven went all-in on marketing its added preventive indication for oral migraine med Nurtec. And now it’s reaping the rewards with doctors. Three months post-approval, 96% of neurologists were aware of the brand, while 65% are “highly familiar” with it, according to Spherix Global Insights' post-launch report.

Nurtec easily bested bigger migraine players post-launch familiarity including Amgen’s Aimovig (52%), Teva’s Ajovy (50%) and Eli Lilly’s Emgality (40%).

While Biohaven had the advantage of already being on the market with Nurtec as an approved acute migraine treatment, its aggressive marketing strategy and sales rep rollout since the second nod likely also played a role branding success.

RELATED: Biohaven points up Nurtec dual-migraine approval with growing stable of celebrity users

Physicians gave Biohaven top marks for overall launch execution for the label expansion, with Nurtec now performing better than Aimovig and AbbVie’s Botox when it comes to sales rep quality. Doctors rated Biohaven reps highly for credibility, product knowledge and professionalism.

“Even with continuing COVID restrictions, 71% of the most recent Nurtec detail was done in person. A lot of that was done because of the label expansion, but also so samples could be more easily provided,” Virginia Schobel, Spherix's neurology franchise head, said.

In fact, half of doctors recalled that samples and patient assistance programs were discussed.

One seemingly incongruent finding from Spherix is that even as Nurtec consideration and adoption is growing among migraine CGRP treatments, competitors’ market share is not suffering. Doctors pegged Nurtec market share, now at 4.5% to grow to 12.1% in the next six months, Spherix found.

RELATED: Biohaven set to be 'a major migraine player' as Nurtec ODT sales dwarf estimates: analysts

Meanwhile, neurologists in Spherix study predicted Aimovig will hold steady at a 9.7% projected share (down slightly from 10.5% now), Ajovy at 7% (even with 7% now) and Emgality at 9.1% (a minor drop from 9.8% currently) at the end of six months.

“While we did think Nurtec might be inhibiting the use of other subcutaneous CGRPs, it really doesn’t. That’s a good thing for the class as a whole,” said Carolyn Gerrish, Spherix associate insights director, adding that doctors expect almost 30% of patients now will be treated with a CGRP preventive treatment.

AbbVie is hot on Biohaven's heels and likely to nab a preventive oral nod soon for its oral option atogepant. Biohaven may have to consider the closing window of time to press its first-and-only oral preventive indication advantage for Nurtec.

However, Biohaven’s marketing strategy—positioning Nurtec as a two-in-one treatment—is likely to have a longer-lasting effect with doctors. Sixty-two percent of physicians agree that Nurtec is dissolving the line between acute and prevenposttive migraine treatment, Spherix found.