Novartis has passed the first hurdle with Beovu, which got the US FDA nod today for wet age-related macular degeneration. But taking market share away from Regeneron and Bayer’s megablockbuster Eylea will be a harder task. As expected, Novartis is not going hard on price – a spokesperson told Vantage that Beovu’s list price would come in at $1,850 per vial, about in line with the cost of Eylea. Instead, the company will rely on what it believes is Beovu’s differentiated clinical profile: although the drug has only shown non-inferiority to Eylea in its pivotal Hawk and Harrier trials, Novartis noted that Beovu had been linked with greater reductions in retinal fluid, a marker of disease activity. Beovu, which is injected into the eye every 12 weeks, could also be more convenient – 12-week dosing of Eylea is approved, but its label states that this is less effective than the recommended 8-week schedule. In a mark of Novartis’s confidence, the company has started various head-to-head studies against Eylea. Still, the immediate lack of a specific reimbursement code for Beovu and doctors’ conservatism could make it hard for Novartis, and it will only get tougher once Eylea biosimilars hit the market, expected in 2024.
|Eyeing the big time: Beovu takes on Eylea|
|Forecast sales ($m)|
|Beovu||Novartis||Every 12 weeks||281||782||1,206|
|Eylea||Regeneron/Bayer||Every 4, 8 or 12 weeks (8 weeks recommended)||7,799||7,397||6,973|