The FDA handed AbbVie an OK and a helpful label on Thursday for its new combo therapy for hepatitis C. And now they’re rolling it into an intensely competitive market with a lowball price for the first 8-week regimen that covers all the major genotypes of the disease.
In other words, look out Gilead.
The drug’s commercial name is Mavyret, a combination of pibrentasvir combined with Enanta’s glecaprevir. Starting with the standard 8-week course and then jumping to 12 and 16 weeks if necessary, researchers have tracked cure rates starting at 92% and rising to 100%.
But it’s that shorter 8-week schedule that gives AbbVie an edge over the blockbuster slate of drugs from Gilead, which demonstrated in Q2 that there’s still some potential to increase sales in the field.
Now AbbVie wants to really slice into that market share of Gilead’s, and the analysts have been working overtime to try and estimate the impact this drug can have as the 8th new therapy for doctors and patients to pick from. EvercoreISI’s Umer Raffat diced the numbers to compare wholesale costs for a set 4-week schedule to see how they look in comparison. And payers will have no problem cheering the price war that AbbVie clearly wants to start.
Looking over the peak sales estimates for this drug, EvaluatePharma pegged 2022 sales at $1.3 billion, making it a top 20 pipeline drug this year, though that’s no sure thing. Gilead is one of the most aggressive drug marketers on the planet, and they have come to dominate this disease category for a reason.
Still, Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges believes AbbVie can be a player with this drug and price, it just won’t make a huge splash on the bottom line.
Patients, physicians and payers are likely to embrace Mavyret given the drug’s profile and excellent clinical data, and this approval and the subsequent market share encroachment are a key part of our cautious stance towards Gilead’s stock. Conversely, for AbbVie, this pricing means that the revenue contribution from Mavyret is likely to be limited, and largely consistent with our existing forecast.
Enanta is grabbing a $40 million milestone on the approval.
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