Vabomere: Major Addition to The Medicines Company’s Portfolio?



Vabomere’s market opportunity

On August 29, 2017, the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) approved The Medicines Company’s (MDCO) Vabomere, a drug comprised of antibacterial, meropenem, and vaborbactam, which suppresses certain resistance mechanisms for treating adulating patients suffering with complicated urinary tract infections (or cUTI). These infections include pyelonephritis and are caused by certain strains of susceptible Enterobacteriaceae such as Enterobacter cloacae species complex, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Escherichia coli.

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Vabomere is effective against gram-negative bacteria that produce beta-lactamase enzymes and specifically Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (or KPC) enzyme. Since KPC-producing bacteria have been found to be a major portion of the Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (or CRE), Vabomere was approved under the FDA’s (U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s) fast track program.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) and the World Health Organization (or WHO) considering CRE and multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections to be an urgent and costly global threat, The Medicines Company’s Vabomere may become a top-selling infectious disease drug in the future. Further, the drug has been approved as a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (or QIDP). That’s expected to extend the patent exclusivity of Vabomere until 2031.

The Medicines Company makes up 0.37% of the iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Value’s (IJS) total portfolio holdings.

The above diagram shows the market opportunity for Vabomere, previously known as Carbavance, around the world.

Market opportunity

According to estimates by The Medicines Company, every year, 50,000–100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with CRE infections, while many more suffer from infections due to other carbapenem-resistant bacterial strains such as Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter.

Since the mortality rate continues to be as high as 20.0%–50.0% in the case of CRE infections, despite best treatment, there is significant unmet demand in this segment. Around 56.0% of CRE-infected patients have to opt for ICU (intensive care unit) care, and 36.0% of patients require mechanical ventilation. CRE infections have also added to the burden of healthcare costs in the United States. With the average length of a hospital stay close to 17 days, the cost of CRE infection includes $22,000–$66,000 for hospital care, of which $10,000–$31,000 is borne by third-party payers. In this context, Vabomere may be a strong contender in the infectious diseases segment. The drug will enable The Medicines Company to compete effectively with other infectious disease players such as Allergan (AGN), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Pfizer (PFE).


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