CSL launches Cinryze rival Haegarda despite Shire's best efforts—at a big discount, too

Shire fought hard to stop it, but no dice: CSL has now launched its hereditary angioedema med Haegarda, and it’s done so with its eye on Shire’s market share.

The Australian drugmaker is rolling out its contender, the first subcutaneous HAE med on the market, at about an 18% discount to Shire’s Cinryze, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal wrote in Thursday note to clients. And that’s without any discounts CSL may offer to commercial payers.

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Undercutting Cinryze, a twice-weekly IV product, “is critical” for CSL, Gal pointed out, considering the company has “limited duration to penetrate the market” before a souped-up product from Shire—a subcutaneous, once-every-two-weeks injection—comes around.

“The high discount would allow it to gain formulary access quickly “ and consequently, make a splash faster—especially if CSL can lock some clients into contracts, though Gal says it’s “too early to tell” if that’ll happen. “More patients could switch to Haegarda, or Shire may be forced to discount Cinryze to maintain formulary access,” he added.

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Those scenarios are exactly the sort that Shire was trying to avoid when it slapped CSL with a lawsuit in April and asked a court to block Haegarda’s launch. The Dublin drugmaker filed the suit the same day it won a specific method patent for subcutaneous HAE treatment with a composition comprising a C1 esterase inhibitor, among other stipulations.

It had good reason to play defense, too: HAE is Shire’s largest orphan indication, according to Gal, generating about 10% of its 2017 revenues. Last year, Cinryze pulled in $680 million in worldwide sales.

Shire investors shouldn’t panic, though, he wrote. He still expects Shire’s subcutaneous up-and-comer, SHP643, to eventually lead the market, working its way up to a stake of about 70%.