Regeneron touts launch of high-dose Eylea in battle with Roche's Vabysmo

Roche’s surge in sales for its long-acting macular degeneration drug Vabysmo showed that patients in the market are open to switching to another treatment.

While that was bad news for Regeneron and its formerly dominant Eylea, the company has countered Roche with its own longer-acting formulation of the anti-VEGF drug.

After gaining FDA approval for its new 8-mg dose of Eylea on Aug. 21, Regeneron racked up $43 million in sales in the United States over the final six weeks of the third quarter for the high-dose regimen, which allows patients to extend injections to once every four months versus once every two months for its original formulation.

Pointedly of the launch, Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., said Thursday during a conference call that its initial sales compare “favorably to recent launches in the retinal disease category.”

Regeneron’s commercial chief Marion McCourt added that physician reports indicate that many new users of high-dose Eylea are “recalcitrant patients who are returning.”

“In terms of the switches, it’s early days, we are seeing switches from Eylea—as you would expect of course because we are the category leader,” McCourt said. “But we are also hearing switches from faricimab (Vabysmo).”

Overall U.S. sales of both forms of Eylea for the quarter came in at $1.49 billion, which marked an 11% decrease year over year and a 1% decrease sequentially.

Outside of the U.S., Bayer commercializes Eylea and recorded $872 million in sales, which were up 6% year over year at constant exchange rates, retiring Regeneron CFO Robert Landry said on the call.

Meanwhile, sales of Vabysmo have been on an upward trajectory since its launch in early 2022. Two weeks ago, Roche reported third-quarter sales of 656 million Swiss francs ($725 million), which was up 27% sequentially, from 525 million Swiss francs.

With sales this year of 1.6 million Swiss francs ($1.8 billion), Vabysmo has blown away analyst expectations upon its launch, which figured the bispecific for $1.1 billion by 2026.

Last week, Roche picked up another indication for Vabysmo, gaining FDA approval to treat retinal vein occlusion.

As for Regeneron, the New York company’s overall revenue for the quarter came in at $3.36 billion, up 15% year over year and 6% sequentially. The result exceeded analyst expectations as did the company’s earnings per share, which hit $11.59, well above a projected $10.72.

Regeneron’s bell cow Dupixent accounted for much of the revenue increase as it generated $3.1 billion, up 33% year over year, boosted by recent label expansions. The company shares Dupixent revenue with Sanofi.   

Another indication may be in the works as well as the company said it has seen promising interim results in a phase 3 study of Dupixent in COPD.

Another Sanofi-partnered product, cancer drug Libtayo, saw a sales increase of 62% to $232 million in the quarter.