As cardiovascular diseases cost the global society around $600 billion annually, this segment offers a significant growth opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry. To offset losses in revenues from its mature brands, Amgen (AMGN) has planned to capitalize on the underserved opportunity in atherosclerosis and the heart failure areas of cardiovascular.
While Amgen has already launched Repatha for atherosclerosis, it also holds multiple investigational drugs for this condition in its research pipeline. These involve AMG 899, which is a CETP inhibitor in its Phase 2 clinical trial, and ASGR1 inhibitor and Lp(a) inhibitor in preclinical trials.
Amgen has launched Corlanor for heart failure in US markets. The company is also exploring omecamtiv mecarbil and AMG 986 for heart failure in its research programs.
The above diagram shows that Repatha managed to capture 55% of the new to brand patient share (or NBRx) in 4Q16. Higher drug pricing has been a key barrier to the rapid uptake of the drug, though the drug demonstrates better efficacy than statins like Pfizer’s (PFE) Lipitor and AstraZeneca’s Crestor. To know more about Repatha’s performance in 2016, please refer to Market Realist’s “Repatha May Become the Standard for Cardiovascular Diseases.”
On January 04, 2017, Amgen declared victory in obtaining a permanent injunction against Sanofi (SNY) and Regeneron (REGN) from a US District Court in Delaware. The company had claimed that Sanofi’s and Regeneron’s Praluent infringed on two patents held by Repatha. This win is expected to boost Repatha’s sales in the absence of other PCSK9 inhibitors on the market.
Notably, the PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) has about 2.0% of its total portfolio in AMGN.
Sanofi and Regeneron had been initially provided a time frame of 30 days to stop the sale of Praluent in the US. This time frame was extended to 45 days in a subsequent hearing. Sanofi and Regeneron plan to file an appeal against this injunction. Notably, these companies could benefit from President Trump’s increased focus on drug pricing, which favors increased market competition.
In the next part of this series, we’ll take a closer look at Amgen’s oncology franchise.