Biohaven set to take on Allergan, Lilly with new migraine med and 500-plus reps

With a new FDA nod for migraine medicine Nurtec ODT, Biohaven will be going up against serious marketing muscle from Allergan and Eli Lilly. But the company is optimistic about its rollout thanks to an “unbelievable” label and a sales team of more 500 reps, execs said Friday. 

Formerly known as rimegepant, Nurtec ODT is a dissolvable oral medication that offers migraine sufferers “early and sustained efficacy," Biohaven's neurology chief development officer Rob Croop said on a Friday conference call. In a pivotal study, the drug helped provide patients pain relief at one hour after dosing, he said, and provided many patients with “sustained pain freedom” up to 48 hours after dosing. 

The drugmaker, which has never marketed a medicine before, is ready to go with a sales force of more than 500 people. The company trained reps ahead of the FDA nod, and they will be out promoting the anti-CGRP drug Monday. 

It’s a “right-sized” launch that’ll be accompanied by social media and other promotional methods, CEO Vlad Coric said. At the same time, Biohaven has been working with payers across commercial and government systems and aims to secure broad coverage this year, chief commercial officer BJ Jones said on the call.

Considering Nurtec ODT's early and lasting efficacy, Jones said the drug boasts an “unbelievable label.”  

RELATED: Can Biohaven challenge the Allergan/AbbVie goliath in migraine? CEO Coric thinks so 

On the market, the drug will face brand-new competition from Allergan’s Ubrelvy and Eli Lilly’s Reyvow—which both debuted last month—plus older options. 

Biohaven didn’t immediately release Nurtec ODT’s price, but execs said the drug will be priced in line with recent cost-effectiveness calculations from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). In its analysis, ICER said the drug would be cost-effective at a list price of $4,200 to $4,600 per year before discounts. ICER also endorsed Ubrelvy, but it said Reyvow would need a significant discount to be cost-effective. 

RELATED: ICER comes around on Allergan, Biohaven migraine meds. Lilly's? Not so much 

Aside from the launch in the acute treatment of migraine, Biohaven is also testing its med in migraine prevention and has other candidates in anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.