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Sobi shows strong growth despite haemophilia competition

Looking to M&A for continued growth

sobi

Rare disease specialist Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) has posted strong growth for the first quarter of the year, led by its haemophilia franchise.

The company markets Elocta, a recombinant clotting factor VIII therapy for haemophilia A that offers an extended half-life, and Alprolix, a long-lasting recombinant factor IX Fc fusion protein for haemophilia B.

Sales of Elocta rose 53% to SEK 991m ($103m), while Alprolix rose 120% to SEK 337m ($35m) based on Sobi’s marketing of the products in the EU and selected other countries.

Marketing rights to the drugs in the US, Canada and Japan are held by Bioverativ, which was acquired last year by Sanofi.

The fast-rising sales of the drugs demonstrate a strong appetite for the long-lasting versions of the well-established haemophilia drugs, even as more advanced treatments reach the market.

The most notable of these is Roche’s Hemlibra, which gained EU approval for use in all haemophilia patients in March.

Standard factor VIII therapy requires administration every three days on average, whereas Elocta extends this to every 3-5 days. Roche’s drug offers a more patient-friendly dosing schedule, being licensed for use once weekly, every two weeks, or even every four weeks.

Another new entrant in the haemophilia A market is Bayer’s Jivi, which has a twice weekly dosing schedule. Meanwhile gene therapies which could cure both variants of the disease are also in development.

Hemlibra and Jivi are starting to make inroads into the wider haemophilia market in Europe, but Sobi remains confident that Elocta can also expand its share of the market – with many healthcare providers conscious of the high cost of Roche’s drug.

The haemophilia treatments helped propel Sobi to total revenue growth of 66% to SEK 3,265m ($341m) for Q1 and EBITA profits also nearly doubling to SEK 1,509m ($157m).

The company is focused on expanding beyond its haemophilia products, and recorded a major milestone in November last year when it gained FDA approval for Gamifant.

The ultra-rare disease therapy was licensed from Novimmune for $452m last year, and gives Sobi an expanded presence in the all important US market.

November also saw Sobi acquire rights to Synagis, the only approved respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) prophylaxis for high-risk infants from AstraZeneca.

The Stockholm-headquartered firm says the move complements its expertise in paediatrics and immunology.

Guido

Guido Oelkers

Guido Oelkers, Sobi’s chief executive and president hailed the figures as a strong start, commenting:

We completed the acquisition of Synagis in late January and are in the process of integrating Synagis operations and employees into the organisation. The haemophilia franchise continued to grow strongly, we have seen positive effects from the Gamifant launch in the US, even though it is still in early launch phase, and we see an increasing demand for Synagis.”

The company says it remains focused on continued M&A, being particularly on the look out for late-stage molecules in the rare disease space.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

25th April 2019

From: Sales

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