Novartis and Amgen lead the migraine market after a second late-stage trial yielded positive results.
For many migraine sufferers, the best remedy has been to turn out the lights and go to bed. But dark and rest don’t make money for drug companies—and given the paucity of effective migraine medications on the market, many in the space are racing to provide another option to patients.
Teva (NYSE:TEVA), Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Alder Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALDR) and Allergan (NYSE:AGN) are all hard at work on new migraine medications—but it is Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) that have surged into the lead after a second late-stage trial yielded positive results.
Episodic migraine sufferers reported fewer headaches per month while on the pair’s investigational drug, erenumab (or AMG 334). On enrollment, these patients were experiencing approximately eight migraine days per month. The drug appears to have nearly halved that number: patients on the 70 milligram dose experienced 3.2 fewer migraine days a month and those on the 140 milligram dose reported a slighter higher benefit—3.7 fewer migraine days per month.
That’s impressive in an of itself, but particularly when you consider what is determined “clinically significant” in this market. As FierceBiotech has reported, clinicians believe that even a one day reduction in migraines per week is a major development, considering how debilitating these severe headaches can be.
The results build on earlier promising trial data, which also examined erenumab’s efficacy in treating chronic migraines. Taken all together, that data has experts predicting great success for the companies’ new product: Jefferies analyst Jeffrey Holford has predicted drug sales as high as $1.5 billion, Reuters reported.
How will those profits be split between Novartis and Amgen? According to the collaboration agreement, Amgen owns the American, Canadian and Japanese markets, with Novartis holding sales rights in the rest of the world.
Investors can expect to see drug shipped as soon as next year.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Chelsea Pratt, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.