New launches Rexulti, Trintellix steer Lundbeck to best H1 ever

Lundbeck has supported both its Rexulti and Trintellix launches with DTC ads.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Lundbeck had fallen on hard times. But thanks to some new launches—and some new leadership to oversee them—the company is poised to post its best-ever financial year.

Antipsychotic Rexulti, for one—a blockbuster wannabe approved by the FDA two years back—is outpacing the branded market in terms of week-over-week growth, and “the uptake is strong relative to prior competitive antipsychotic product launches,” CEO Kåre Schultz told investors on the company’s Q2 conference call.

So far, the product has racked up more than 13% of branded total script market share, Schultz said, and it’s grabbing 15% of branded new script market share. The result? DKK 574 million ($90.64 million) in quarterly revenue, a jump of 85% over the year-ago quarter.

And there’s more to come. The company is expecting to “see the effect” of the product’s first outside-the-U.S. launches later this year, Schultz said, including in Canada, where the med was launched on the private market in April.

Rexulti isn’t the only growth product coming up big for Lundbeck. Sales for the medwhich bore the name Brintellix until confusion prompted a 2016 switchreached DKK 778 million in the quarter, and in the U.S.which generated the lion’s share with 56%more than 570,000 patients have received the med. Coverage is on the up-and-up, too; the med is covered for about 80% of commercially insured patients and more than 97% of Medicare Part D patients, Schultz said.

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That’s not to say everything’s been rosy on the expansion front. Last year, Lundbeck and partner Takeda received a surprise FDA rejection of their bid to add an indication for improved cognition to the depression med’s label; the “no” vote followed a positive recommendation from an advisory committee, and the agency usually follows those endorsements.

Outside the U.S., though, “countries like Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain as well as France are beginning to make valuable contributions to the total Brintellix revenue,” Schultz told investors.

Meanwhile, Lundbeck has backed both launches with DTC work. The Rexulti “Put on a Brave Face” commercial features patients using masks to hide their blues, while the “Tangles” concept used to promote Trintellix helps illustrate depression symptoms that go beyond sadness.  

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Those rollouts and others have buoyed Lundbeck, whose CEO left in disgrace in late 2014 to put them in jeopardy. Novo Nordisk vet Schultz, though, has managed to turn things around despite competition to former anchor Abilify, steering Lundbeck to its highest-ever H1 revenue tally this year.