Migraine use could boost Botox by $1B

As if Botox wasn't big enough. Allergan is on the verge of a big expansion in use of the muscle-relaxant-turned-ubiquitous-cosmeceutical, with new data due on its use as a migraine remedy. Ready for presentation at a conference tomorrow--and submitted for publication in a medical journal--the new study presumably shows Botox to be effective against the killer headaches.

Effective enough, in fact, for the company to hand over the data to the FDA by month's end, a spokeswoman told Bloomberg. The data might even persuade insurers to cover Botox for migraines in anticipation of agency approval, analysts said.

Broad use of Botox for migraine would be a boon for Allergan--a big boon. About $50 million of the drug's $1.3 billion in 2008 revenue came from off-label use as a migraine remedy. With supportive study results and a new use from FDA, the company could add as much as $1 billion a year, "if the data's good enough," Jeffries & Co. analyst Peter Bye told Bloomberg

GlaxoSmithKline's Imitrex, the most successful migraine drug, brought in $1.3 billion in 2008, despite the fact that it faced generic competition partway through the year. Other drugs used off-label for chronic migraine include Johnson & Johnson's Topamax and beta blocker drugs, but not all patients respond to them, Bye said. So if Botox proves effective, even more patients could be lining up for injection. 

- read the Bloomberg story