- Thomson Reuters
Allergan has already had an eventful 2016.
Last month, the drugmaker’s $160 billion megamerger with Pfizer was scrapped after the US Treasury released new rules governing so-called tax inversions that undercut the deal’s key rationale.
And it is expected to complete a sale of its generic-drug unit in June. Once that’s done, the company will be mainly focused on branded pharmaceutical products.
After all the activity, Business Insider caught up with Allergan’s newly promoted Chief Commercial Officer Bill Meury and Herm Cukier, Senior Vice President of Women’s Healthcare, to hear what’s up next for the company.
It’s been about a month since the Pfizer deal fell through, and Meury says it hasn’t been a huge disruption. Only a tiny number of people were involved in pre-integration work.
“It’s a testament to the management team as well as the R&D organization to stay focused at a time when there was potentially a great deal of change,” he said.
Allergan is most widely known for its best-selling Botox, which is used to treat everything from wrinkles to migraines. Altogether the company has seven therapeutic areas where it’s developing products.
One of its key products is a daily pill to treat uterine fibroids, or noncancerous growths that affect about 80% of all pre-menopausal women. In some women, it can cause pain or heavy bleeding that can be cumbersome. The goal of the medication is to reduce the size of the fibroids so they don’t cause as many problems as a better alternative to surgery and some of the other oral medications available.
“We’ve seen studies that show there’s more than $30 billion per year in cost to the United States because of uterine fibroids,” Cukier said.
Meury expects the drug, ulipristal acetate, to be the “flagship” product of the company’s women’s health program. It just reported its first phase 3 trial results, with more patients on the medication experiencing no bleeding compared to those on the placebo. It’s expected to file for approval in 2017.
Meury also pointed to a new preventative migraine drug in development, a new drug for treatment-resistant depression, and a longer-acting eye drug for macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema as the drugs in the pipeline that he’s most excited for.
In Allergan’s first-quarter call, CEO Brent Saunders made a point to distinguish the company as a “growth pharma” company rather than a “specialty pharma” (A group that would lump them in with embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals among others).
“Growth is what our investors want and it shows our commitment to customers,” Meury said. “Whether it’s called specialty pharma or growth pharma, it’s our commitment to doing what do best, which is introduce novel compounds to the healthcare community.”