Analysts: Biogen's second long-acting hemophilia med headed for blockbuster strata

Courtesy of Biogen Idec

With Friday's FDA nod for Eloctate, Biogen Idec ($BIIB) won approval for its second long-acting hemophilia treatment this year. But while both will shake up their respective markets, this one--a hemophilia A treatment--will be where the money is.

Like Biogen's hemophilia B med Alprolix, green-lighted by the FDA in March, Eloctate cuts down the number of infusions needed to prevent bleeding episodes, with a dose needed once every three to 5 days instead of the standard twice- or thrice-weekly regimen.

And like Alprolix, Eloctate will be priced on par with existing therapies, Biogen's head of commercial operations, Tony Kingsley, told Reuters. That means patients won't pay more for the added convenience of less-frequent dosing, leaving rivals vulnerable to patient-switching.

Biogen's head of commercial operations Tony Kingsley

Unlike Alprolix, however, Eloctate sales estimates put it squarely in blockbuster territory. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast $1.5 billion in annual sales by 2019, compared with the $286 million in yearly sales they expect Alprolix to rake in. And that makes sense, considering Eloctate's patient pool: The drug will enter a $6 billion hemophilia A market--6 times larger than that for hemophilia B products.

Those sales could come in spite of competition from companies like Baxter ($BAX) and Novo Nordisk ($NVO), both of which have their own long-acting candidates in the works that will ultimately fight for position in the hemophilia A arena. Even with those additions, an analyst survey back in March said Eloctate would likely grow to command up to 37% of the adult market over the next few years.

That's especially worrisome for Baxter, whose current hemophilia A med, Advate, brought in the bulk of its hemophilia revenue last year with about $1.8 billion in sales. And with hemophilia sales comprising more than 58% of Baxter's biopharma haul, Advate's top-line power will become all the more important for the Deerfield, IL-based company when it spins that unit off in 2015.

Baxter and others will just have to get used to Biogen as a hemophilia threat, though, company R&D head Douglas Williams told Reuters. "We see Alprolix and Eloctate as the anchor tenants in a growing franchise," he said. "We're in this space to stay."

- read Biogen's release
- get more from Reuters

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