AbbVie closes in on Biohaven with new migraine prevention OK for oral CGRP drug
You can now add another hefty pharma player to the commercial battle for migraine prevention.
AbbVie has landed an approval for Qulipta, the oral CGRP receptor antagonist it obtained via the $63 billion buyout of Allergan and the third FDA-approved drug in its migraine portfolio.
While AbbVie’s other CGRP drug, Ubrelvy, won an OK for acute treatment of migraine ahead of Biohaven, the Yale biotech spinout snared a leg up this May when it scored an expanded label for Nurtec to cover the preventative use.
That gap appears to be closing now. Qulipta, AbbVie said, is the first and only “gepant” specifically designed to prevent patients from experiencing those disruptive headaches; in a pivotal trial, the drug cut down the average number of monthly migraine days among adults with episodic migraine compared to placebo over 12 weeks, with reductions seen as early as weeks 1 to 4.
“Millions of people living with migraine often lose days of productivity each month because attacks can be debilitating,” said Michael Severino, president of AbbVie, adding that his company now offers the “full spectrum of migraine treatment, which include preventive therapies for chronic and episodic migraine and an acute treatment for migraine attacks.”
The drug is to be taken once daily — in direct contrast to the injectables being marketed by Novartis/Amgen and Eli Lilly.
In a statement, AbbVie quoted a trial participant in saying that Qulipta allowed her to go about daily activities without worrying as much about migraine attacks.
“From a competitive standpoint, we wait to see how AbbVie prices Qulipta (commercial launch expected in early October 2021), but expect Biohaven’s Nurtec ODT to remain the oral CGRP market leader, while the combination of Qulipta and Ubrelvy should allow for AbbVie to begin narrowing Biohaven’s recent market share gains,” Mizuho analysts wrote.