Eli Lilly's Emgality staves off migraines when other regimens fail: study

Emgality pen
Eli Lilly's Emgality staved off migraines for 3.1 days longer than placebo in a phase 3 trial dubbed Conquer. (Eli Lilly)

Hard on the heels of its next-gen migraine competitors, Eli Lilly’s Emgality has been looking for a turbo boost. Solid data in preventing migraines as a follow-up treatment could do the trick.

In migraine sufferers who didn't respond to previous prevention regimens, Emgality cut the number of days patients experienced migraines per month by 4.1, a phase 3 trial found. The drug showed a 3.1-day improvement over placebo, Lilly said. Going into the study, the number of migraine days per month was a median 13.4 days.

Emgality also hit key secondary endpoints in the phase 3 study, dubbed Conquer: The drug beat placebo on the percentage of patients who saw their headache days cut by 50%, 75% and 100%, and in improvements in scores on a standard quality-of-life questionnaire, which measures the degree to which migraine limits a person's daily social and work-related activities, Lilly said.

The newest data could help Lilly capitalize on Emgality’s “best-in-class” market access in migraine prevention and cluster headaches, though its sales continue to trail behind those of its fellow CGRP drugs, Amgen’s Aimovig and Teva’s Ajovy.

Last week, Lilly said Emgality held 41% of the new-to-brand market share, a 9% jump from the end of the first quarter. The drugmaker said that capture rate topped the CGRP class, where Emgality was third to market when it launched last year.

RELATED: Lilly's Emgality powers ahead with 'best-in-class' CGRP access

Emgality posted $34 million in sales for the quarter, still far behind those of Aimovig—which hit $83 million in the same period, Amgen reported last week. Teva will present its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

While sales continue to lag, Lilly has made a hard pitch to payers for Emgality, and so far it appears to be working: Emgality prescriptions were three-quarters paid for as of last week, and 91.5% of the drug’s migraine patients were covered as of late May.

RELATED: Emgality maker Lilly courts payers with new migraine ER data

In an effort to support that market access, in July, Lilly rolled out a 20,000-patient observational study on preventative migraine treatment, dubbed Overcome, showing that just 5% of frequent migraine sufferers who seek emergency care for their symptoms are treated with a migraine prevention medication like Emgality.

About 15% of the patient pool pursued emergency care within the last 12 months, Lilly said, presenting a clear gap in the number of patients who are eligible for a preventive treatment but aren’t being prescribed one, as well as a need for personalized care outside of the emergency room.