Will Access and Label Expansion Drive Celgene’s Otezla Growth?


Mar. 18 2016, Updated 9:04 a.m. ET

Improving access

Wall Street analysts have projected that Celgene’s (CELG) Otezla revenues will reach about $977.7 million in 2016. That’s a year-over-year (or YoY) growth of 107.7%. Celgene (CELG) expects a gradual improvement in market access for the drug in 2016 in the United States, which will be a major growth driver for the drug.

According to Wall Street estimates, Otezla will earn about $1.5 billion in revenues for 2017. Payers have been gradually making exceptions to the two biologic step rule, thus allowing patients access to appropriate biologic drugs. According to a survey conducted by American Health & Drug Benefits, “Health plans may use step edits, or a ‘fail-first’ requirement, where payment for a therapy will be made only after certain therapies have been used first. If the patient does not respond appropriately (ie, considered a ‘step’ or ‘failure’), then the provider will likely recommend a second-line therapy.”

Celgene also expects an increasing demand for Otezla to push payers to relax access requirements for the drug. Celgene currently offers tough competition to other immunology and inflammation (or I&I) players such as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), and AbbVie (ABBV).

If these projections prove to be correct, it will help boost the share price of the iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF (IVW). Celgene makes up about 0.9% of IVW’s total holdings.

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Label expansion

On July 9, 2014, Celgene announced that Otezla failed to meet its primary endpoint in the Phase III POSTURE study. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the use of the drug for treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. However, Celgene did find that the drug was successful in stopping further advancement of the disease for the majority of patients. The company expects to witness data related to the use of Otezla for stopping disease progression of ankylosing spondylitis as well as data from Phase II trials of the drug for atopic dermatitis and ulcerative colitis in 2016.

In the next article, we’ll explore the various factors that are expected to drive Celgene’s net profit margins in 2016.


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