Industry Spotlight  |
Proteins & Antibodies

Market Battle for Rare Disease Treatment

Edited by Tia Byer |
03 August 2022
Argenx and AstraZeneca are set to become market rivals in their general myasthenia gravis (gMG) treatments, analysts claim.

A new report conducted by analysts at Evercore ISI warns that Argenx’s rising rare disease drug Vygart risks becoming overshadowed by competitor AstraZeneca’s Ultomiris.

Argenx received FDA approval for Vygart in December 2021, signifying the biopharma’s first-ever regulatory license. Since then, the drug has reached over 21 million USD in revenue sales in the first quarter alone and 75 million USD in the second quarter, over 15 million more than was projected.

However, analysts now predict that recent market activity may knock Vygart’s trajectory off course.

Just two months after its official launch, Vyvgart became entangled in a market struggle with AstraZeneca’s newly gMG-approved Ultomiris. Ultomiris is the next-generation follow-up to Soliris, a monoclonal antibody treatment for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.

In response to the growing market tension, Evercore ISI conducted a survey asking 50 doctors about their use of Argenx’s Vygart drug. The survey found that, on average, doctors reported only a 2% in drug adoption, with 4% of patients on Ultomiris and nearly 6% on Vyvgart.

Argenx “will need to continue an aggressive physician awareness campaign and push convenience/flexibility.”

“Overall, the survey paints a picture that Vyvgart may exceed consensus heading into earnings, but it is highly vulnerable to Ultomiris,” analysts reported. Evercore’s survey also noted that doctors “see Vyvgart and Ultomiris as nearly equivalent overall, including reimbursement, efficacy, patient convenience and safety.”

Nevertheless, the survey claimed that medical awareness for Vyvgart “is lower than Ultomiris,” adding that Argenx “will need to continue an aggressive physician awareness campaign and push convenience/flexibility.”

Reasons behind the awareness bias could be explained by the fact that Ultomiris has been available for a long time as a treatment for other rare diseases.

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