Eyeing a $500M peak sales pot, Almirall doubles down on lebrikizumab as Dermira lines up PhIII
With eyes on what it believes is a $500 million peak revenue opportunity in Europe, Barcelona-based Almirall has stepped up with $50 million in cash to take up the option on Dermira’s IL-13 anti-inflammatory drug lebrikizumab just ahead of the start of Phase III. And there’s another $30 million due as the late-stage program gets geared up.
That shouldn’t be long from now, as Dermira expects to begin the late-stage trial work for atopic dermatitis before the end of this year as it follows a trail that execs insist leads to blockbuster returns. Along the way, they’ll need to take on the 600-pound gorilla in atopic dermatitis: the IL-13/IL-4 drug Dupixent, from Regeneron and Sanofi. Rivals also include Leo Pharma, in its pivotal with tralokinumab, and AnaptysBio in the hunt with a mid-stage program for etokimab, previously referred to as ANB020.
Just before Dermira’s readout in March Almirall paid $30 million to ante up for the option game.
Dermira produced some distinctly positive data for their drug — acquired from a disappointed Roche — in March. And several analysts offered a cautious thumbs up on data that looked competitive with Dupi.
But going into this kind of competitive arena looks daunting for some of the analysts.
“(T)he AD landscape is increasingly competitive, which suggests new entrants will face an ever-increasing bar to differentiate from Dupi and each other,” noted Jefferies’ Biren Amin back in March.
“We are incredibly pleased to collaborate with Dermira on the lebrikizumab clinical development program and excited by the prospect of delivering what could be a best-in-disease therapy for people living with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in Europe, which Almirall believes could achieve potential peak sales of around €450 million euros,” said Peter Guenter, chief executive officer of Almirall.