Topped out as a cosmetic, Botox goes therapeutic

Botox, the Allergan drug we're all accustomed to labeling "wrinkle-fighter," will get a majority of its revenue from non-cosmetic use this year, the company predicts. As CEO David Pyott (photo) told Bloomberg, Botox sales may have been split rather evenly between therapeutic and cosmetic use in recent years--but that's all set to change.

Growing therapeutic use has been a slow process, Pyott told the news service: "It has taken 20 years to get to $700 million on the therapeutic side," he said. That's about half of Botox's $1.4 billion in 2010 sales; the company forecasts $1.5 billion to $1.55 billion for 2011.

One thing making the difference, Pyott said, is the recent FDA nod to market Botox as a treatment for chronic migraine. With that push, therapeutic sales will bypass cosmetic sales. But the migraine indication is just one new use for Botox, Jefferies analyst Corey Davis told Bloomberg, citing the new indication for spasticity granted last year and a pending app for use in overactive bladder.

"The future growth of Botox is going to be completely driven by therapeutic use," Davis said. "There are no other formal cosmetic indications left, but there are plenty of new therapeutic indications left."

- read the Bloomberg coverage