Elagolix May Become a Strong Growth Driver for AbbVie


Nov. 29 2016, Updated 10:04 a.m. ET

Elagolix growth trends

On October 19, 2016, AbbVie (ABBV) and Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) announced positive results from two phase 3 clinical trials at the 72nd American Society for Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress & Expo (or ASRM).

The data from these trials demonstrated that those premenopausal women who suffer from endometriosis, and who are administered Elagolix orally, witnessed a statistically significant decline in menstrual and nonmenstrual pain.

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Graph 5These two trials involved about 1,700 patients and can be considered to be the largest clinical trials conducted for endometriosis to date. To learn more about the market opportunity for Elagolix in the women’s health segment, please read Will Elagolix Make Neurocrine Biosciences a Key Women’s Health Name?

According to AbbVie, “Elagolix (ABT-620) is an oral gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist being studied for the treatment of endometriosis and uterine fibroids.”

The Journal of Endometriosis 2010 estimates that about 176 million women in the world suffer from endometriosis, which can result in chronic nonmenstrual pelvic pain as well as infertility.

Limited treatment options

The above diagram rates the available treatment options for endometriosis based on degrees of invasiveness and efficacy. While chronic analgesics, progesterone Depo-Provera, and oral contraceptives are minimally invasive, they also display minimal efficacy. Further, women can suffer from side effects such as Depo-Provera bleeding, waking, and mood changes.

Lupron, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, is administered subcutaneously, either on a monthly or quarterly basis. While it is effective, it is far more invasive than oral agents.

Laparoscopy is a highly invasive treatment option that also results in a high one-year recurrence rate as well as adhesions. Adhesions can also be source of chronic pelvic pain. In this context, Elagolix can become a preferred regimen as it ranks low on invasiveness and high on efficacy.

The high prevalence of endometriosis, the severity of the disease, and the limited treatment options in the market highlight that there is a significant unmet demand in the endometriosis segment. This can be a strong positive for Elagolix’s growth prospects. By venturing into the underserved women’s health segment, AbbVie can pose strong competition to other pharmaceutical players such as Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK).

Further, of Elagolix is able to secure approval from the FDA, it may have a positive impact on AbbVie stock as well as the Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG). AbbVie makes up about 1.1% of VUG’s total portfolio holdings.

In the next article, we’ll analyze the growth prospects for Elagolix as uterine fibroid therapy.


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