Biohaven's migraine drug Nurtec ODT has been on a roll since becoming the first medicine to win a dual FDA approval to both treat and prevent migraines. Now, the company is posting sales figures that might make some of its Big Pharma rivals in the migraine field jealous.
Biohaven's Nurtec ODT generated $136 million in the third quarter of 2021, a 46% increase from the second quarter, bringing its launch-to-date sales to $336 million. The drug debuted in March 2020 and so far has treated more than 1 million migraine patients, Biohaven said Tuesday.
While launching at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic brought its challenges for the newly commercial drugmaker, Biohaven has been able to post some big wins in the months since.
Nurtec won its original FDA nod in February 2020 as the first anti-CGRP drug to treat migraines as they happen. Then, in May, the drug scored an endorsement to act as a preventive measure for adults with fewer than 15 headache days per month.
Since then, the med has climbed to be the market leader among a class of new oral migraine therapies. The drug is capturing 61% of new prescriptions in the oral CGRP drug class, which includes AbbVie's Ubrelvy.
While Biohaven's rivals haven't yet reported their third-quarter sales, a look at their second-quarter revenues might give an indication about what to expect from those meds. AbbVie's first-in-class oral CGRP medicine for acute migraine treatment, Ubrelvy, posted $126 million in the second quarter. That drug is on a growth path, so it may have been able to outperform Nurtec by sales in the third quarter.
As for the prevention setting, Eli Lilly's Emgality, Amgen's Aimovig and Teva's Ajovy posted second-quarter sales of $156 million, $82 million and $46 million, respectively. Those medicines are injections rather than oral tablets like Nurtec.
The migraine field has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and, just last month, another new drug entered the fray. AbbVie's Qulipta, an oral CGRP drug, scored FDA approval as a preventive option. Analysts expect blockbuster sales down the line from the drug.
To help its medicine stand out against the competition, Biohaven has enlisted celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian and Whoopi Goldberg for its TV ad campaign.