Regeneron Is Focused on Advancing Development of Fasinumab for Chronic Pain
Fasinumab growth trends
On September 20, 2016, Regeneron (REGN) entered into a partnership with Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) for the development and commercialization of fasinumab in the US. Regeneron has already collaborated with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation for the development and commercialization of this drug in Korea, Japan, and nine other Asian countries, with the exception of China.
The chart below gives a snapshot of Regeneron’s research pipeline across various development stages. At the end of 2Q17, Regeneron (REGN) had six approved drugs and 17 investigational products in its portfolio. fasinumab, a Nerve Growth Factor antibody for pain, is one of the products in Regeneron’s late-stage research pipeline.
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Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (or NSAIDs), when used for chronic pain in elderly patients, may result in adverse cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects. On the other hand, opioids have demonstrated low efficacy in managing chronic pain in osteoarthritis patients. Many patients are unable to tolerate opioids, which are highly addictive and have significant potential of being abused by patients.
In this context, non-opioid therapy, fasinumab, may help control chronic pain through an innovative mechanism of action. Currently, the safety and efficacy of this investigational therapy are being studied in a Phase 3 trial for patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip.
In 2H17, Regeneron also expects to commence a Phase 3 trial to study the potential of fasinumab in chronic back pain indication. fasinumab could enable Regeneron to compete effectively with other pain segment players such as The Medicines Company (MDCO) and Endo Pharmaceuticals (ENDP).
While the drug has already demonstrated its ability to reduce pain in Phase 2 trials, Regeneron and Teva Pharmaceutical would have to generate a large amount of safety data for fasinumab due to known safety concerns for this class of drugs.
If the efficacy and safety data support fasinumab’s regulatory approval, it may have a favorable impact on Regeneron stock and the Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT). Regeneron makes up about 1.0% of VHT’s total portfolio holdings.