News On Benlysta

February 2nd, 20104:04 pm @ Angela Odom


Are you into the stock market? You might want to invest in shares of Benlysta, the new lupus drug soon to visit a pharmacy near you. According to PRNewswire, Benlysta will garner sales of more than $500 Million in 2018 in the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus drug market. Today, Human Genome Sciences Inc (NASDAQ GM: HGSI) opened at $27.53 per share and reached a high of $28.19 per share. Can you imagine where this stock will go once it makes it to the street, actually prescribed to lupus patients. If it works well, without horrible side-effects, it could go higher.

Regulatory approval for the drug is expected in 2011 for the United States and Europe. When this happens, Human Genome Sciences/GlaxoSmithKline’s Benlysta will garner sales of more than $500 million in 2018 in the systemic lupus erythematosus drug market. If approved, Benlysta will be the first agent to launch for systemic lupus erythematosus in more than 50 years.

A drawback for the drug is what physicians believe could happen. Some physicians are saying that although they are enthusiastic about the drug, they are concerned about the reluctance of payers to reimburse high-cost biologics as well as potential restrictions that may be placed on Benlysta’s use.

“The reimbursement of Benlysta may be limited to patients with disease activity and manifestations closely resembling those of patients enrolled in the BLISS-52 and BLISS-76 clinical trials,” said Decision Resources Analyst Dancella Fernandes, Ph.D. “We expect that the drug will be used primarily in patients with moderate and severe disease who do not have severe central nervous system or severe renal manifestations of the disease.”

The Pharmacor 2010 findings also reveal that the entry and uptake of premium-priced biologics that include Benlysta, Biogen Idec/Roche/Genentech’s ocrelizumab, and Immunomedics/UCB’s epratuzumab will drive the overall systemic lupus erythematosus drug market to more than quadruple over the next decade. In 2018, these three agents, combined with the continued uptake of rituximab (Biogen Idec/Roche/Genentech/Chugai/Zenyaku Kogyo’s Rituxan, Roche’s MabThera), will account for more than 80 percent of sales in the systemic lupus erythematosus drug market. Hmm, how about a real drug portfolio.

As for Human Genome Sciences Inc., they have already completed a Maryland plant (built in 2005) that promises to supply 45,000 to 50,000 patients with Benlysta, and it has been building the drug’s inventory since the fall. The company is also exploring the idea of using a contract manufacturer to help ensure that there is adequate supply, and is studying ways to improve the yield of its current production methods.