Pfizer ($PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMS) Eliquis has been lagging since launch time, trailing behind predecessors Pradaxa and Xarelto. But lately, the drugmakers' efforts have been paying off when it comes to market share, and a new indication may help keep the ball rolling.
Thursday, the FDA approved Eliquis to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE)--blood clots in the legs and lungs--as well as to cut the risk of recurrent DVT and PE following initial therapy. DVT and PE--known together as VTE--affects about 900,000 Americans per year, the companies said.
"Once a VTE has occurred, approximately 33% of patients are at risk of a recurrence within 10 years," Pfizer SVP Steve Romano said in a statement. "The Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer alliance is committed to delivering important treatment options to patients and physicians."
It's also committed to boosting Eliquis sales, which have so far fallen far below what analysts expected. Last October, EP Vantage estimated that analysts' 2014 sales estimates had fallen 60% within 12 months.
But Pfizer and BMS have fought back, successfully amping up Eliquis' top-line haul in the second quarter. Thanks to the "increased resources" the pharma giants put toward Eliquis marketing--beefing up their DTC advertising budgets and their sales forces--Eliquis hauled in $171 million in the period. That's more than 13 times the $12 million it posted in the same period last year, and more than 50% above what it generated last quarter.
But that doesn't mean it's in the clear. It's still trailing market-leading Xarelto, from Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Bayer, and Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa. Both of those drugs are blockbusters--and each of them already boasts Eliquis' new VTE indication.
- read the release
Special Reports: Blockbuster buzz: 15 Top Therapies - Eliquis | Top 10 DTC pharma advertisers