Patient convenience is a key strategy for drugmakers looking to boost sales: Think Novartis' ($NVS) newly approved multiple sclerosis treatment Gilenya, for example; as a pill rather than an injected drug, analysts say, it stands to steal patients away from established, but less convenient drugs. Or think of the race to develop a diabetes drug that lasts a week or longer.
As Bloomberg reports, the convenience factor is playing out in the market for immunoglobulins, drugs for people born without the ability to make enough antibodies. Australia-based CSL is trying to woo patients away from doctor's-office infusions of drugs such as Baxter's ($BAX) Gammagard with its new Hizentra, which patients can inject themselves. And Hizentra has an advantage over potential home-infused competitors, because it's highly concentrated, so an infusion takes less time, analysts say.
Doctors and analysts are expecting a big shift of patients to Hizentra, Bloomberg says, which gives CSL the chance to bypass Baxter, the leader in the $5 billion market for antibody-boosting drugs. Right now, CSL boasts 29 percent of that market, while Baxter has 33 percent. One thing that's been holding CSL back is production capacity; Hizentra is now made at a plant in Bern, Switzerland, that's running a full capacity, but the company is looking to FDA approval next year for Hizentra production at another plant nearby, allowing it to quadruple capacity.
- read the Bloomberg story