J.P. Morgan: AstraZeneca PLC CEO Says He's Not Worried About Pricing Pressure

Published: Jan 15, 2015

J.P. Morgan: AstraZeneca CEO Says He's Not Worried About Pricing Pressure
January 14, 2015
By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Sr. Editor

Big Pharma player AstraZeneca had a nice boost Wednesday going into its presentation at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, after the company released positive data for its anti-clotting drug Brilinta that showed it had met its primary endpoint in a recent late-stage study (phase 3).

Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot told the audience at J.P. Morgan that the good news on Brilinta, which showed it can help patients even a year after taking the pill, might help boost market penetration even ahead of a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved indication.

Soriot made the comments at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference which began Monday in San Francisco and is the oldest and largest conference of its type. It includes 300 of the largest biotech, healthcare and biopharma companies presenting their top-line data and estimates to 4,000 eager bankers, analysts, institutional investors, hedge funds and journalists.

Soriot also told the crowd that AstraZeneca saw sales shoot up 100 percent through the third quarter of 2013, a gain that is reflective of the drug’s new status as the number one branded anti-platelet used in hospitals.

As for news that large payors like Express Scripts will be pressuring global pharmaceutical firms into lowering their prices, Soriot said he was unconcerned, telling attendees that AstraZeneca “has built pricing pressure into its plans.”, Those plans right now project $45 billion in revenue by 2023, a significant bump from the consensus numbers, which have the company earning $29 billion by 2021.

The release of the PEGASUS-TIMI 54 study of Brilinta found that the drug met primary endpoint in both 60mg and 90mg doses, showing a “statistically significant reduction in major cardiovascular thrombotic events.”

It followed 21,000 patients who'd had heart attacks and then dosed them with Brilinta combined with aspirin to prevent another cardiac event. The data released Wednesday showed that approach prevented additional heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular death, with patients seeing gains even a year later.

“If you keep patients on the drug for three years instead of one, the math is pretty obvious,” Eric Le Berrigaud, an analyst at Bryan Garnier & Co. in Paris, told Bloomberg. “It could potentially change the paradigm of treatment.”

AstraZeneca and its subsidiaries, researches, manufactures and sells pharmaceutical and medical products. It is focused on eight therapeutic areas gastrointestinal, oncology, cardiovascular, respiratory, central nervous system, pain control, anesthesia and infection.

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