Eylea Companies: Regeneron, Bayer 2019 sales: $7.99 billion Projected 2026 sales: $6.68 billion Projected CAGR: -3% Used for: wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema
Regeneron and Bayer's bestselling eye drug Eylea has taken the wet age-related macular degeneration market by storm in recent years. But a serious challenger in Novartis' Beovu is hoping to chip away at Eylea's lead.
Eylea posted $7.99 billion in sales in 2019 and could see a slight 3% decline in sales through 2026 as Beovu siphons off market share, Evaluate Pharma reported. That would leave Regeneron and Bayer's med with $6.68 billion in sales that year.
It might have been worse. Beovu presented an existential challenge of sorts for Eylea when it was approved in October, but a safety warning for the drug may hinder Novartis' ability to give the older med a run for its money.
RELATED: ' Lightning struck': How a safety alert shifted doctor sentiment on Novartis' Beovu
In February, the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) sent out a safety update to doctors detailing 14 cases of retinal vasculitis among Beovu patients, 11 of which were occlusive retinal vasculitis that can lead to vision loss.
The alert came early into the launch, so many of the patients had only had either their first or second injection.
Now, docs’ views of the med are dramatically different than before the communication, Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond wrote in a March note. The team had conducted a survey of 30 doctors right before the ASRS communication, and the experts said then that Beovu would reach 17% market share by August.
In another survey right afterward, the numbers were quite different. The docs then projected Beovu to hold an 8.4% patient share by August. And there’s now “anger and mistrust of [Novartis], indicating an uphill battle" for the launch, Raymond wrote.
RELATED: Regeneron touts Eylea strength as Novartis rival falters, COVID-19 cuts demand
That's great news for Regeneron, which markets Eylea solo in the U.S., and has been hit by COVID-19 and a drop in demand for elective procedures. In 2019, Eylea's sales jumped 17% from the previous year's total.
In May, CEO Len Schleifer said total Eylea prescription numbers and new patient starts were both lower in late March and early April. The drug's sales dipped to $1.17 billion in the U.S from $1.22 billion in the fourth quarter.
Commercial chief Marion McCourt said COVID-19 hit Eylea harder in its newer indications in diabetic eye disease than in wet age-related macular degeneration. McCourt described the decline in the last two weeks of March and first two weeks of April as “sharp,” with overall demand for the month 15% lower than the same time last year. Numbers have rebounded recently, she said, but warned that demand will be uncertain as the pandemic continues.