Hang Onto The Launch: Investor Outlook Is Brighter For Some Biotechs
Successful biotech launches like Regeneron’s Eylea, Vertex’s Incivek and others have investors reconsidering the “short the launch” mentality that pervaded the industry a year ago, though no one is throwing caution to the wind.
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Speaking at the J.P. Morgan meeting in January, Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer says the company is exploring many opportunities to build the franchise around its successful wet AMD drug Eylea. In the fourth quarter, the drug racked up $400 million in U.S. sales, beating expectations.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals is working to execute on two launches and produce late-stage data that will enable it to add more indications to its growing roster of marketed drugs. If it succeeds, it could eventually rival competitor Celgene as one of the few biotechs to move from a small cap into the big cap ranks, but any stumbles could slow or eliminate Onyx’s evolution.
As companies present their third quarter earnings they discuss the drugs that they’ve launched over the last quarter – some have had success right out of the gate, while others hope to build momentum, albeit more slowly.