Superstar Eylea does its part in Q2, but Regeneron sales come up short

Regeneron may have recorded a slight miss in Q2 revenue Thursday. But don’t blame superstar med Eylea.

The blockbuster considered to shine on, as Leerink Partners analyst Geoffrey Porges put it, raking in $831 million in U.S. sales for the quarter. That haul topped analysts’ forecasts of $812 million, and the New York biotech also reaped $192 million from its collaboration with Bayer, which sells Eylea overseas.

The product’s performance helped hold the growth numbers Regeneron put up for Eylea back in May. The company expects to see the therapy’s revenues expand on their 2015 tally by between 20% and 25% for the year; Regeneron had initially projected just 20% annual Eylea growth, but it revised guidance upward after a successful Q1.

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That’s not to say Eylea isn’t battling its fair share of competition. In the anti-VEGF market, the med holds a 37% share, while Roche rival Lucentis boasts just a 19% piece of the pie. But Roche cancer med Avastin, which doctors frequently prescribe off-label to treat the eye condition at a fraction of Lucentis’ price, still leads the field with 44%, Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum wrote in a note to clients.

And those rivals could out-muscle Eylea when it comes to snagging the favor of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Regeneron’s commercial EVP Bob Terifay warned investors on the quarterly conference call. The companies are currently putting forth proposals, which could lead physicians to favor Avastin—or, in “large-volume retinal practices,” Lucentis. The reason? “The provision of increased direct-to-physician financial incentives from the manufacturer and group purchasing organizations,” he said.

Either way, though, Regeneron is eyeing other avenues for Eylea growth—including tandem regimens. The company is in the process of testing its star med alongside PDGF receptor antibody rinucumab in wet age-related macular degeneration, and that combo has already grabbed the FDA’s fast track designation.

Meanwhile, Eylea’s strong quarter wasn’t enough to offset weaker-than-expected numbers from Regeneron’s collaboration on PCSK9 med Praluent. That therapy, which the company shares with Sanofi, generated about $60 million less in collaboration revenues for Regeneron than analysts expected, keeping total revenue at $1.21 billion, or about 2% below consensus estimates.

- read Regeneron's release (PDF)

Special Report: Top 15 drug launch superstars - Eylea - Regeneron

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Eylea follow-up data dulls its edge on Lucentis, endangering gains in key DME patient group
Sanofi's Praluent scores first place in line for UnitedHealth unit's PCSK9 patients
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