Will Orenitram Lose Market Share to Uptravi in 2016?



Orenitram growth potential

United Therapeutics’ (UTHR) Orenitram is an oral pulmonary arterial hypertension (or PAH) drug. Despite Orenitram demonstrating improved efficacy at higher dosages in clinical trials, physicians may not be able to prescribe the drug due to its adverse side effects. Thus, Actelion Pharmaceuticals’ oral PAH drug, Uptravi, may capture Orenitram’s market share in 2016. However, Orenitram may benefit from warehoused demand in 1Q16. To know more about Orenitram’s growth prospects, please refer to Understanding the Sales Potential of United Therapeutics’ Orenitram.

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In 1Q16, Orenitram’s sales managed to reach $40.2 million, which is a year-over-year (or YoY) rise of about 92.3%. If United Therapeutics continues to witness a strong growth rate for Orenitram sales in 2Q16, it may boost the company’s share prices as well as that of the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI). United Therapeutics makes up about 2.4% of XBI’s total portfolio holdings.

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While the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) has approved  Orenitram to improve exercise capacity in WHO Group I PAH patients, competitor drug Uptravi has been approved to reduce the frequency of hospitalizations and overall disease progression. 

To strengthen Orenitram’s label, United Therapeutics is also involved in registering participants for clinical trials that aim to test the drug for reducing mortality and morbidity rate in PAH patients. United Therapeutics expects to get approval for Orenitram’s label expansion in 2018. If the projection is correct, then the label expansion could be a major growth driver for Orenitram. It will also strengthen United Therapeutics’ product portfolio and enable the company to present tougher competition for PAH players such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA), and Gilead Sciences (GILD).

In the next article, we’ll explore analyst recommendations for United Therapeutics and its peers prior to the 2Q16 earnings release.


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