Could Argenx’s solo success snag a suitor?
The prevailing wisdom is that solo biotechs cannot launch drugs. Not so Argenx, which smashed expectations today with second-quarter figures for its FcRN antagonist Vyvgart. Sales of $75m beat even a recently upgraded SVB forecast of $45m, numbers that will no doubt lead to a resurgence in takeover talk. Argenx has long insisted that it can go it alone, but the group’s market cap, currently $19.7bn, has always seemed steep. Closer investigation, in light of actual Vyvgart numbers, suggests that Argenx might be fairly valued. In late 2021, when Vyvgart was approved, Evaluate Pharma’s consensus sellside forecasts put peak sales at $5.9bn, translating into $17.5bn NPV. However, more recently SVB has predicted much chunkier peak revenues of $9.6bn. Of course, Vyvgart still has to prevail in its new indications, but in one of these it has just lost a competitor: today UCB discontinued its rival anti-FcRN rozanolixizumab, which is subcutaneously infused, in immune thrombocytopenia. Still, Argenx has upsized its subcutaneous trial here, delaying readout. Investors, who sent Argenx up 9% in premarket trading this morning, might have an eye on a buyout despite the biotech’s insistence that it wants to remain independent.
|More to come? Argenx's Vyvgart-expansion efforts|
|Setting||Status||Peak sales ($bn)|
|Generalised myasthenia gravis||IV version approved Dec 2021; SC version to be filed by YE 2022||2.7|
|Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy||Data from pivotal Adhere trial of SC version due Q1 2023||2.0|
|Bullous pemphigoid||Pivotal Ballad trial of SC version completes 2024||1.6|
|Immune thrombocytopenia||Pivotal Advance-IV study positive May 2022; pivotal Advance-SC data due H2 2023 (from Q1 2023)||1.4|
|Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies||Pivotal Alkivia trial of SC version to start Q3 2022||1.2|
|Pemphigus vulgaris & foliaceus||Data from pivotal Address trial of SC version due H2 2023||0.7|
|Source: SVB note July 26, 2022 & clinicaltrials.gov.|