Savient aims for primary care with new Krystexxa data

Savient Pharmaceuticals ($SVNT) hasn't made huge inroads with its new gout drug, Krystexxa. Over the first 6 months of the year, the drug generated only $1.4 million in sales. But the company is now hoping some new study data will help jump-start its sales efforts.

According to recent trial results, Krystexxa delivered strong outcomes in patients who didn't respond to other gout medications, particularly at higher doses. The drug depressed uric acid levels below targeted amounts in 42% of patients given the drug every other week, compared with 35% of patients who used it monthly--and a grand total of zero patients in the placebo group.

CEO John Johnson says he's planning to take the data into the primary-care market in a bid to grow Krystexxa sales. So far, the company has been concentrating on promoting the drug to rheumatologists. "This really now is the foundation for our launch of phase two into the primary-care audience," Johnson told Bloomberg. "We expect to see some acceleration in sales in the second quarter of next year."

However, the study authors said the results shouldn't be extrapolated to the average gout patient. "The progression in these individuals is extreme," Michael Becker of the University of Chicago told Reuters. The patients in this study had "really severe," extremely painful gout that didn't respond to other drugs. "This is not a medication to be undertaken in a much larger group of patients," he said.

- check out the Savient release
- see the Bloomberg story
- get more from Reuters