UPDATED: EU gives recommendation for Regeneron's Eylea

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ($REGN) has been giving Roche ($RHHBY) fits with its Eylea drug, stealing market share from the Swiss drugmaker's Lucentis. It appears that Regeneron will battle Lucentis in a new market.

Evaluators have recommended use of Eylea in the EU, where Regeneron shares the spoils for the treatment with Bayer, Reuters reports. After a recommendation, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) usually rules within a couple of months on whether it will accept it. Novartis has the rights to Lucentis outside the U.S.

Lucentis and Eylea both have been shown to restore some sight to patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that can lead to blindness. Eylea, however, comes with a lower cost, and has been found to require fewer treatments--at least in the first year of use.

Regeneron in January settled a patent fight with Roche over Eylea and Lucentis, agreeing to pay Roche's Genentech division a $60 million milestone payment, plus royalties when U.S. sales hit $400 million. 

In July, Regeneron for the third time boosted its forecast of sales for the sight-restoring drug. It projected full-year U.S. Eylea sales will tally $700 million to $750 million. That is up 50% from the $500 million to $550 million projected just three months ago, which was nearly double an earlier projection.

"If we hit our new forecast, we will be one of the best launches in the history of the biotechnology industry," CEO Leonard Schleifer said at the time.

- here's the Reuters story

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