Synergy preps for Trulance launch with competitive pricing, experienced GI reps

For an industry traditionally scrutinized for low executive pay, one has to wonder what our executives are actually making.
Synergy will roll out Trulance at the same list price as Allergan competitor Linzess, with a salesforce of 200 to 300 backing it up, analysts say.

Synergy Pharmaceuticals has reportedly made waves in the GI market already, by poaching a slew of reps from troubled Valeant. And as Synergy's launch for Trulance approaches, it’s getting ready to roil the waters for its constipation competitors, too.

The New York-based company is preparing to roll out the January chronic idiopathic constipation approval at a list price of $353 per script, matching Allergan rival Linzess and coming in just a shade above Sucampo and Takeda's $350-per-script Amitiza. The way Oppenheimer analyst Derek Archila sees it, that pricing scheme—coupled with Trulance’s flexible with-or-without-food dosing—bodes well for “adoption among patients, payers and physicians,” he wrote in a note to clients.

A sampling program featuring seven-day blister packs won’t hurt, either, Archila figures, because of Trulance's proven ability to help quickly. In the clinic, Trulance posted a statistically significant improvement in complete spontaneous bowel movement and spontaneous bowel movement frequency at the Week 1 mark, “leading us to believe patients sampling the product could quickly move to 30-day paid scripts,” he wrote.

Synergy will be doing it all with a “hybrid” commercialization strategy, incorporating both company-hired regional sales managers and account specialists, along with contract reps. Archila estimates the drugmaker’s ranks will boast between 200 and 300 reps at launch, all with “significant GI experience.”

The pharma may have embattled stomach drugmaker Valeant to thank for part of that seasoned corps. As Wells Fargo analyst David Maris wrote recently in a note to clients, Synergy managed to nab 50-plus staffers from the Canadian company's GI-focused salesforce, whose turnover problems are well-documented.

All told, Archila expects the newcomer med to net about $30 million between its March launch and the end of this year, and $100 million in 2018. But that’s not to say Trulance will have it easy. Allergan’s Linzess has had its CIC green light since 2012, and it raked in $452 million through the first nine months of 2016.