After Amarin lost U.S. patent protections for its sole drug Vascepa, the company embarked on cost cuts and shifted to a digital-first marketing strategy. Now, the company aims to "stabilize" U.S. sales and grow its presence in Europe, execs said Wednesday.
Amarin posted $94.6 million in first-quarter sales, a 33% plunge from the same period last year. U.S. sales made up the vast majority of the company's haul, and, in that market, Amarin's cardio drug started facing a third generic entrant in the first quarter of 2022. Speaking Wednesday, Amarin execs noted that the increase in generic competition meant lower volumes and lower prices for the company's product.
Vescepa won its original FDA approval in 2012 to reduce triglyceride levels in adults with severe hypertriglyceridemia. Then in 2019, Amarin won its coveted label expansion to include high-risk patients with persistent cardiovascular risks.
The med got off to a strong start in that launch, raking in $598 million in 2020, a 40% jump from the year before. But in late 2020, Hikma’s generic entered the market after Amarin lost its patent appeal.
The generic competition prompted Amarin to change its strategy for Vescepa. The new strategy, dubbed “Go-to-Market,” relies on digital channels to boost prescriptions and expand Amarin's network of practitioners.
The digital marketing shift led the company to cut more than 400 of its sales reps, shrinking its sales team from 750 people to 300.
“With the U.S. sales, our number one objective is to stabilize,” President and CEO Karim Mikhail said on a Wednesday conference call. “You cannot go back to growth unless you stabilize.”
Further, the company quickly shifted to focus on the European market.
There, the company scored its first national reimbursement decision in the first quarter. After a blessing from regulators in Sweden, the company is planning to ramp up commercial activities in the Nordic country.
Meanwhile, the company is working to secure reimbursement in the U.K., and it's on the market with a temporary reimbursement in Germany.
Beyond Europe, Amarin is pressing ahead with regulatory efforts in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Israel. The company plans to file for approval Vascepa in around 20 more countries.
“At this point in time, we are focusing in Europe on getting the best price and reimbursement, because that’s the right foundation,” Mikhail said, adding later that the company “has a plan for every quarter.”