Regeneron Rises on New Data From Eylea Studies
NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2013 (AP) — Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals rose Monday, briefly hitting an all-time high, after the company reported new details from studies of its drug Eylea as a treatment for diabetic macular edema.
THE SPARK: On Saturday, Regeneron discussed additional results from two late-stage clinical studies of Eylea. The disease is a major cause of vision loss, and Regeneron says it is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans. According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition affects about 5.3 million Americans over the age of 18, and most patients who have had diabetes for 20 years or more have at least some degree of diabetic macular edema.
Macular edema means a swelling of the macula of the eye.
THE BIG PICTURE: In August, Regeneron and its partner Bayer said Eylea met its main goals in the studies, as patients treated with Eylea had greater improvements in visual acuity compared to patients who had a laser procedure. Regeneron plans to file for U.S. marketing approval this year. Bayer will file for marketing approval in the European Union in 2013.
Until August, Regeneron said it hadn't planned to file for approval until 2014.
In the U.S., Eylea is approved as a treatment for the eye conditions "wet" age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, and central retinal vein occlusion. Central retinal vein occlusion is caused by the obstruction of the central retinal vein that leads to a backup of blood and fluid in the retina, which causes vision loss.
Regeneron markets Eylea in the U.S. and the companies share profits on sales in most other countries.
Roche's drug Lucentis is also used to treat "wet" age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema. However Eylea is less expensive than Lucentis and it can be administered with fewer injections.
THE ANALYSIS: Oppenheimer & Co. analyst David Ferreiro kept an "Outperform" rating on the stock and raised his price target to $310 per share from $300. He said Eylea worked about as well as Lucentis in the studies and said it performed "strongly." Ferreiro said he thinks Eylea will eventually become a leading treatment for the condition, surpassing Lucentis and Avastin, another Roche product.
SHARE ACTION: Shares of Regeneron gained $7.97, or 2.6 percent, to $313.62 in afternoon trading after rising earlier to an all-time high of $319.83. The stock has more than doubled in value over the last year.
Posted: October 2013