Despite strong data from a would-be rival, Sanofi and Regeneron's Dupixent can grow in asthma: analyst

After Amgen and AstraZeneca presented positive phase 3 data for their asthma drug candidate tezepelumab, analysts started dissecting how a potential launch could affect other players in the market. For Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent, the outlook is positive, one analyst figures. 

Last week, AstraZeneca and Amgen presented phase 3 data showing that adult and adolescent patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma who received tezepelumab plus the standard of care experienced a 56% reduction in exacerbations compared with those who received standard of care and placebo. The results held up across a “broad population,” the companies said.

Those results, though strong, did not concern Evercore ISI analyst Josh Schimmer. After speaking with an asthma and allergy specialist, he concluded that “it seems like Dupixent’s growth outlook for asthma remains intact,” he wrote to clients on Wednesday.

While Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond thought the Amgen and AstraZeneca data presentation was lacking some details, he said there was enough there to estimate that the drug can generate $700 million in U.S. sales by 2025. 

Still, without the full data, it’s “difficult to fully comp teze’s profile to other asthma biologics,” the analyst added. 

RELATED: Amgen, AstraZeneca's tezepelumab hits goal in asthma phase 3   

Schimmer predicted positive trends will continue for Dupixent. The respiratory disease specialist he spoke to pointed out that “ideal” patients for treatment with the medicine either have high eosinophil counts or other comorbidities such as atopic dermatitis. Some have a “strong dependence” on high dose inhaled or oral corticosteroids, Schimmer wrote.  

In total, those patients make up around 33% to 40% of all asthma patients, and they “tend to respond very well” to the Sanofi and Regeneron drug, the analyst added. 

While there’s a “bottleneck” of patients at the general practitioner level, Schimmer wrote, the appropriate patients eventually make their way to asthma specialists. The analyst projected a “steady flow of patients into specialists and onto biologics to help sustain Dupixent growth.” On Thursday, the FDA accepted for review Regeneron's application for Dupixent to treat children with moderate-to-severe asthma.

RELATED: Dupixent sales of €10B? We're on track, Sanofi CEO Hudson says 

Of course, asthma is just one of Dupixent’s approved uses. The med is also used in atopic dermatitis and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. And Sanofi and Regeneron have big plans for the drug in the years to come. Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson has made Dupixent a cornerstone of his strategy for the company, aiming for €10 billion in peak sales.

To get there, the drugmaker has an aggressive plan to test the drug in additional diseases, as well as new markets, in the years to come.