Regeneron reported $933 million in global sales of its injectable eye treatment Eylea for the second quarter of 2015. The company said its strong quarter was fueled in part by stealing market share from Roche/Genentech drugs Lucentis and Avastin.
In a Q&A session during the company’s earnings call, Robert Terifay, SVP of commercial at Regeneron, told analysts that the drugmaker is seeing high uptake among patients with diabetic macular edema (DME). “The bulk of the growth is coming in DME, both in terms of the growing the DME market overall for the anti-VEGF class, as well as taking market share from both Lucentis and bevacizumab [Avastin],” he explained.
Terifay also noted that the new ophthalmology practices prescribing Eylea are “generally smaller” and that they were re-buying Avastin because they were not familiar with “all the reimbursement techniques.” He pointed out that the drugmaker is “actively working with ophthalmologists as well as optometrists to build awareness for screenings and to get patients to retinal specialists as soon as DME is diagnosed.”
Of the drug’s $933 million in sales during the second quarter of the year, $655 million was generated in the US.
Eylea received its fourth approved indication in March for diabetic retinopathy. This gave the drug approval for treatment of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion along with DME.
Details were scant for the the company’s recently approved PCSK9 inhibitor, Praluent, with Regeneron executives saying it was too early to talk specifically about its dealings with payers. Terifay did note, however, that payers are going to want patients to “step through” maximum-tolerated statin therapy before allowing access to the drug.