Strong revenue growth
Celgene’s (CELG) Revlimid sales are expected to rise in 2016, mainly due to geographic market expansion, increasing duration of therapy, and new ongoing research.
Geographic market expansion
In 2015, Revlimid was the market leader in the newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (or MM) market in the United States. The drug also managed to maintain its share of the second-line MM market in the United States in 2015. This trend is expected to continue in 2016, as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend RVd triplet regimen as the preferred therapy for newly diagnosed MM patients. RVd triplet regimen consists of Revlimid (lenalidomide), bortezomib, and low-dose dexamethasone.
In 2015, Revlimid reported 19% year-over-year (or YoY) volume growth in the European market. This was due to the launch of Revlimid as a first-line MM therapy in multiple markets as well as favorable reimbursement from the Russian market. In 2015, the drug accounted for 15% of the market for treatment of newly diagnosed MM patients with non-stem-cell transplants in Europe. The drug’s share in this segment in Germany was about 20%.
Revlimid is also actively capturing the second-line therapy MM market in Europe. Revlimid is thus expected to still be strong competition for Merck’s (MRK) Keytruda, Amgen’s (AMGN) Kyprolis, and AbbVie’s (ABBV) and Johnson & Johnson’s Imbruvica.
Duration of therapy
Celgene (CELG) has witnessed an increase in duration of therapy for Revlimid across all lines of treatment for MM in all geographies. This is due to increasing clinical data that have confirmed improved outcomes after continuous treatment with the drug. Clinical data released from trials of the RVd triplet regimen as first-line MM therapy demonstrated impressive outcomes without further disease progression. This has been instrumental in driving up the duration of Revlimid therapy in the US market. The duration is more than 17 months for newly diagnosed MM patients and more than 22 months for the overall MM population.
Therapy duration is lower in Europe. It’s 12–14 months, which implies that there’s substantial room for more exploration in this market. Higher duration of therapy will translate to greater sales, thus boosting Celgene’s profitability.
Increasing use of IMiDs such as Revlimid and Pomalyst as a backbone therapy in other combination regimens and in combination with monoclonal antibodies is also expected to boost the drug’s sales in 2016.
New clinical research
In 2016, Celgene expects to submit an application for the use of Revlimid as post-stem-cell transplant maintenance therapy for MM patients in the United States and Europe. The company also expects data to come in from the REMARC trial, which is exploring the use of Revlimid in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in 2016. Enrollment in the Phase 1 proof-of-concept trial of the Fusion research program should begin in 2016. The trial is a collaboration between Celgene and AstraZeneca/MedImmune to test the Revlimid/durvalumab combination as a first-line MM therapy.
Revlimid’s strong revenue growth in 2016 is expected to have a positive impact on the share price of the PowerShares QQQ ETF (QQQ). Celgene accounts for 1.7% of QQQ’s total portfolio holdings.
In the next part of this series, we’ll explore growth drivers of Celgene’s other hematologic oncology drug, Pomalyst/Imnovid.