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Celgene’s Big Plans for Otezla in 2017

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Feb. 1 2017, Updated 10:36 a.m. ET

Addressable market size

Celgene’s (CELG) Otezla has been a frontrunner as the company expands the drug’s geographical reach across major markets like France, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. In France, the drug requires no initial prescription at hospitals, and this highlights the confidence of the French regulatory authorities in the safety profile of Otezla. This trend might also indicate an even broader adoption of the drug going forward.

After positive decisions from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Otezla is expected to witness solid sales in the UK. The drug has been commercially marketed in the country for psoriasis since December 2016, while sales for psoriatic arthritis started in January 2017.

Otezla has also managed to secure a positive decision from Italian researchers and regulators in psoriatic arthritis. The launch of the drug for this indication started in January 2017, and Celgene expects Italy to decide whether Otezla should be approved for psoriasis by 2H17.

Otezla has also become the first psoriasis oral therapy to be approved in Japan in the past 25 years. The drug is expected to see a commercial launch in this Asian market in 1Q17.

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New research programs

In addition to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, Celgene (CELG) is actively striving to expand Otezla’s label in areas like scalp psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, and Behcet’s disease. The company plans to launch a once-daily formulation of the drug for its approved indications in an effort to compete with immunology and inflammation heavy hitters like AbbVie (ABBV), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Amgen (AMGN).

Notably, the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) has ~0.44% of its total portfolio in CELG.

In the next and final part of this series, we’ll analyze Celgene’s financial guidance for 2017.

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