Companies: Regeneron, Bayer
2018 U.S. sales: $4.1 billion
Used for: wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema
Another year marked more blockbuster sales for Bayer and Regeneron’s wet AMD treatment Eylea, but threats from competitors loom large in the coming years.
In 2018, Eylea scored $4.1 billion in U.S. sales, a healthy 10.1% increase for Regeneron, which exclusively markets the drug stateside. Regeneron tied its 2018 growth to Eylea's growing uptake in AMD and diabetic macular edema. The drug also posted positive phase 3 data for diabetic retinopathy in late 2018 and received an FDA nod for that indication in May of this year.
Even as Eylea cleans up the AMD market with a massive share of the field, Novartis’ brolucizumab and Roche’s RG7716 are aiming for FDA approval to challenge Eylea, but analysts seemed unfazed by the pressure. In February 2018, Leerink Partners analyst Geoffrey Porges said erosion forecasts from Novartis and Roche’s entries into the field aren't expected to damage Eylea’s grip.
“We … believe the value erosion in Regeneron’s stock due to competitive Eylea threats is vastly overstated,” Porges said in a note to investors.
In May of this year, Piper Jaffray & Co. analysts held steady on Eylea's chances after the drug posted sales in the first quarter of $1.1 billion, besting consensus by $11 million.
Eylea scored a label expansion in August for treatment of wet AMD in a 12-week dosing formulation. That approval followed a rapid reversal from the FDA after the agency rejected Regeneron’s application for the indication earlier in the week.