Late-stage clinical trial data indicating that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) and Bayer’s (BAYR) drug Eylea was an effective treatment for the retinal disease known as myopic choroidal neovascularization was released on Wednesday.
Eylea is already approved in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia for the treatment of central retinal vein inclusion, as well as age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among the elderly in the U.S.
The new test results show Eylea more effective than a placebo in the treatment of mCNV, giving the drug a third application which could easily translate into increased sales. Bayer is already eager to show the test results to regulators in Asia in order to have the drug approved.
The news is especially good for Regeneron, who markets the drug in the U.S. and has a profit sharing arrangement with Bayer for sales overseas, and receives royalties on profits in Japan. mCNV occurs in 5 to 10 percent of patients suffering from high myopia, which is more commonly found on the Asian continent. According to studies, anywhere from 9 to 21 percent of people of East Asian ethnicity suffer from it, while myopia is found in only 2 to 4 percent of Caucasians.
Myopic choroidal neovascularization is a condition in which abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina, eventually causing blindness. It is the second leading cause of blindness among the elderly in Japan.
Regeneron has said that it estimates it will sell as much as $1.33 billion of the drug for the full year 2013.
The company’s $24.7 billion market-cap makes it the fifth largest in the world, and the news sent already expensive shares skyrocketing nearly 10 percent subsequent to Wednesday’s announcement, for a closing price of $252.17. Regeneron’s stock has more than doubled over the last year, and is up 47.40 percent for 2013.
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