Ongoing Genzyme shortages boost Shire meds

There's at least one entity who is benefiting from Genzyme's ongoing manufacturing woes, and that's Shire. Since the closure of a plant touched off shortages of Genzyme's drugs, Shire's rival meds have been reaping the benefit. And now that Genzyme's production still isn't meeting goals--and the company is expecting supply problems through the summer--that's just more opportunity for Shire.

The U.K. drugmaker has been selling its Replagal alternative to Genzyme's Fabrazyme under special permission from FDA since December to help alleviate the shortages. As Genzyme's attempts to get its plant back online continued to falter, Shire also got a fast-track designation for Replagal, which will help speed the drug's journey to approval.

Meanwhile, sales of Replagal already are outpacing Fabrazyme in Europe. Sales are up 69 percent year-over-year, and Replagel now has 60 percent of the European market, Minyanville reports. Now that Genzyme expects its Fabrazyme production to reach only 30 percent of demand through September, those gains are set to continue.

And then there's Vpriv, Shire's rival to Genzyme's Cerezyme treatment for Gaucher disease. It got FDA approval in February, and given the ongoing shortages of Cerezyme--Genzyme now says its production at 50 percent of demand will continue--has plenty of opportunity to capture new patients. "We believe that a delay in resuming full supply of Cerezyme will lead to increased market share for Shire's Vpriv," Zacks Equity Research predicts.

- check out the Minyanville piece

ALSO: Shire was chastised by FDA for overstating the benefits of its ADHD drug Intuniv in promotional materials for new patients. Report