Lundbeck's FDA nod for Vyepti piles even more competition on crowded migraine prevention field

Lundbeck acquired its new migraine drug in its buyout of Alder BioPharmaceuticals last year. (Lundbeck)

A new entrant is joining the competitive migraine prevention race. 

Friday, the FDA approved Lundbeck's Vyepti, formerly known as eptinezumab, as the first IV medicine to prevent migraines in adults. It's the latest offering in a crowded CGRP field that includes drugs from Amgen, Eli Lilly and Teva.

Lundbeck has said the med's dosing schedule of every 12 weeks offers a strength over the competition, which is dosed every four weeks. Still, some doctors only plan to use it as a backup option due to the need to infuse the new drug, Jefferies analysts wrote last year after speaking with two physician opinion leaders.

The drug will likely "end up with a niche share in the market," the analysts wrote.

"Given the need to infuse eptinezumab, the doctors believe that this less convenient CGRP product would be primarily reserved for patients failing other CGRP treatments or perhaps it could find some use in emergency rooms," they added.

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Lundbeck acquired the drug in its $2 billion buyout of Alder BioPharmaceuticals last year. On the market, the med will challenge Amgen's first-in-class Aimovig plus Eli Lilly's fast-charging Emgality and Teva's Ajovy.

Those CGRP prevention options scored FDA nods in 2018 and represent important new launches for their respective companies. Last year, Aimovig generated $306 million in sales, compared with $162 million for Emgality and $93 million for Ajovy.

Lundbeck's approval is the latest in a string of FDA nods in migraine over the last two years. Aside from the preventive options, Eli Lilly is launching Reyvow as an acute treatment while Allergan is rolling out Ubrelvy in that use.