Sector News

Krystexxa shows signs of life as Horizon charts rep scale-up

October 11, 2017
Life sciences

Back in May, Horizon Pharma unveiled plans to throw more commercial heft behind gout med Krystexxa, a product that’s had a long and difficult journey. And that’s because the company liked what it saw after a recent marketing tweak.

The Illinois drugmaker had found early success in repositioning the med as a treatment for refractory gout, a subset comprising 50,000 to 60,000 U.S. patients, execs recently told Jefferies analyst David Steinberg. As he wrote in a note to clients, they noted “both improved reception by the medical community and payers” after “reframing the product’s safety profile and proper utilization of the drug.”

The result? Forty percent to 50% growth in patients over the past year, Steinberg noted—enough to convince Horizon that Krystexxa could shine with more backup from sales. As part of its first-quarter earnings announcement, the company laid out plans to bulk up its sales organization from more than 100 staffers to nearly 200—and it raised its peak net sales estimate for the drug to more than $400 million, up from more than $250 million.

Krystexxa is already far ahead of where it had been when Horizon agreed to acquire owner Crealta—which had snatched the med from bankrupt developer Savient—in December 2015 and started shifting Krystexxa toward patients with more severe and treatment-resistant gout. Savient had gone after the general gout population of 3 million and failed to gain traction.

Horizon had originally used a 40-person rheumatology sales force to hawk Krystexxa alongside its corticosteroid Rayos, but as its sales ranks have swelled, so has revenue: In this year’s second quarter, the med raked in $38.3 million, a 93% leap over the second quarter of 2016’s haul of $19.9 million.

But the way management sees it, there’s still a long way to go. Only about 2,000 of those 50,000 and 60,000 eligible U.S. patients are currently receiving the treatment, which execs say spells a “significant opportunity,” Steinberg wrote.

And in the meantime, Horizon execs are celebrating the delayed implementation of changes to Medicaid 340B, a program shift that would cost the company a one-time step-down that would wipe out about a quarter of Krystexxa sales, with certain hospitals reimbursing at just one cent per vial.

Thanks to a recent decision from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to postpone implementing the program until next July, “management remains ‘hopeful’ that the rules governing this program will be less draconian if reworked,” Steinberg noted.

By Carly Helfand

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

June 24, 2022

Echosens and Novo Nordisk announce partnership to increase awareness and advance early diagnosis of NASH

Life sciences

Echosens, a high-technology company offering liver diagnostic solutions, and Novo Nordisk A/S, a leading global healthcare company, announced a partnership to advance early diagnosis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and increase awareness of the disease among patients, healthcare providers and other stakeholders.

June 24, 2022

argenx receives positive CHMP opinion for Efgartigimod for the treatment of adult patients with Generalized Myasthenia Gravis in Europe

Life sciences

Positive opinion based on Phase 3 ADAPT trial showing efgartigimod provided clinically meaningful improvements in strength and quality of life measures. If approved, efgartigimod will be the first neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) blocker for the treatment of adults in Europe living with rare neuromuscular disease generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG).

June 24, 2022

Galapagos finally takes M&A plunge, spending $251M for 2 biotechs in CAR-T push

Life sciences

Galapagos CEO Paul Stoffels, M.D., has finally taken the plunge on M&A. The newly minted chief executive has signed not one but two deals in an attempt to right the ship, bringing two small biotechs aboard for a combined 239 million euros ($251.4 million).