Lilly's migraine reliever Reyvow cleared for launch, setting up market battle with Allergan's Ubrelvy

Eli Lilly's Emgality has been gaining steam in the new CGRP class of migraine prevention drugs, and now it has a new colleague: Reyvow, the first med in a new class of acute treatments. 

The first-of-its-kind med for migraine episodes offers relief within two hours, data show, but it'll face competition from one of Emgality's CGRP rivals. Allergan’s Ubrelvy won approval in late 2019 as the first oral CGRP to treat migraines as they happen, and it's now available on the market, a spokesman said.

After an October FDA approval, the Drug Enforcement Administration signed off on Reyvow this week. It's also Lilly's first 2020 launch, period.

Lilly priced the med at $640 for a package of eight tablets. Reyvow should be available within a few days, the company said.

With the rollout, patients will get a new migraine treatment option after two decades of lackluster innovation, Lilly’s vice president of its U.S. neurosciences business unit Libby Driscoll told FiercePharma.

There’s “no one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s why patients and doctors need new options,” she said. A recent study found that 79% of migraine sufferers are willing to try another acute medicine, Lilly says.

In two clinical studies, 28% to 39% of patients who took Reyvow achieved complete relief from migraine pain after two hours, compared with 15% and 21% for placebo. And a higher number of patients—41% to 49%—experienced relief from their most bothersome symptom. 

RELATED: Eli Lilly's Reyvow wins FDA nod for migraine relief, but side effects could limit sales: analyst  

Reyvow represents the latest debut for a company increasingly reliant on new meds. This week, Lilly said 46% of its fourth-quarter sales came from medicines that have launched since 2014. Those rollouts, combined with few patent expirations over the next several years, position the drugmaker for "top-tier" growth to 2025, an exec said this week.

More than 30 million adults in the U.S. suffer from migraines. The condition is the second-leading cause of disability worldwide, partly because it affects people during their ages of “peak productivity,” Lilly’s Eric Pearlman, senior medical director of neuroscience, said in an interview. Migraines cause an estimated $56 billion in lost productivity each year and often lead to an added stigma for sufferers, he added. 

“There really is a need for new innovative treatments that can help decrease that disease burden,” he said. 

RELATED: Allergan scores year-end FDA nod for CGRP migraine med Ubrelvy, plans early 2020 launch 

Lilly’s migraine prevention drug, Emgality, launched third in the CGRP drug class—trailing Amgen’s Aimovig and Teva’s Ajovy—but has been gaining market share. The drug generated $162 million in 2019 compared with $306 million for Amgen's first-in-class Aimovig.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to note that Allergan's Ubrelvy is on the market.