Roche Lucentis, Regeneron Eylea Continue To Battle It Out In Eye Market

Published: Oct 16, 2014

Lucentis, Eylea Continue To Battle It Out In Eye Market

October 17, 2014

By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

News that Swiss drugmaker Roche expects to see record high sales for its eye drug Lucentis are keeping it ahead of the pack in terms of market share for macular edema for now, but it will face “stiff” competition soon, a Citigroup analyst said Thursday.

Novartis markets the drug in Europe.

The business of treating age-related macular edema and diabetic macular edema has been a cash cow for large biopharma companies, with Lucentis alone pulling in around $4 billion a year. As Baby Boomers age, the market for the blinding age-related disorder will only grow exponentially. Those numbers are paying off for Roche, said Yaron Werber, a biotech analyst at Citi.

Today, Roche reported Lucentis 2013 third quarter sales of $451 million, up 5 percent year over year versus consensus estimate of $439 million. Sales were 3.4 percent higher from the previous quarter. The company is still seeing pressure from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 's competing drug, Eylea, which brought in around $2 billion in 2013.

“While Lucentis continues to face growing competition from Regeneron’s Eylea in AMD and RVO, sales continues to be stable in a growing market and Lucentis continues to grow in diabetic macular edema,” wrote Werber. “Following recent approval of Eylea in DME we expect Eylea to gain substantial market share in DME as suggested by our physician survey.”

Werber said that increasing competition could see Eylea sales of $460 million in the third quarter of 2014 and said Citi expects it to be in-line with consensus $460 million.

“Our recent physician survey predicts solid Eylea launch in DME. But we expect the Eylea DME launch to be less robust than AMD launch since the anti-VEGF treated DME market is comparatively smaller and less mature than the AMD market,” concluded Werber. “We expect the DME market to continue to grow and mature to at least as large as the AMD market.”

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