Pfizer's ($PFE) Ibrance was a drug to watch from the get-go: It won FDA approval months early, and early uptake was quick. But now, its spotlight is getting even brighter.
|Pfizer CEO Ian Read|
Some 3,000 prescribers are using the breast cancer drug with their HER2-negative patients, up from 800 at the end of March, CEO Ian Read said during the company's second-quarter earnings call. First-line market share was 22% for Q2, more than double the size of the niche Ibrance carved out in Q1. The drug drove a 36% hike in Pfizer's overall oncology sales, too.
For the second quarter alone, Ibrance pulled in $140 million, nearly double analyst estimates of $72 million. The drug's performance, in fact, has analysts boosting sales expectations for the year--and by a big margin. Leerink Partners analyst Seamus Fernandez, for one, raised his Ibrance estimate to $710 million for the full year, up from $400 million previously.
The company expects to file for European approval by the end of September, a move that won't pump up 2015 sales, but should start paying off next year. And in another market-expanding prospect, the company called an early halt to its PALOMA-3 trial in previously treated patients, thanks to impressive survival data. Adding Ibrance to AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Faslodex more than doubled progression-free survival to 9.2 months from 3.8 months. Those results promise a new second-line indication for Ibrance to add to its current first-line approval.
Plus, Pfizer is starting a raft of new Ibrance studies to add to its search for new combination indications for the drug. One of those is looking at Ibrance as a treatment for head and neck cancer, specifically in patients whose tumors aren't linked to human papillomavirus. It's prepping a Phase II study of Ibrance plus Abraxane in advanced pancreatic cancer as well, Pfizer oncology chief Albert Bourla said during the Q2 earnings call.
- see the transcript from The Street
Special Report: The top 15 pharma companies by 2014 revenue - Pfizer