Regeneron Diversifies Portfolio as Eylea Revenue Takes a Hit
Pictured: Blue Regeneron sign on building/Courtesy of Lev Radin/Getty Images
Sales of Regeneron’s wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) medicine Eylea (aflibercept) dropped 6% during the first quarter of 2023 as compared with the same period the year before, the company reported in its financial results.
Compared with the previous quarter, Eylea sales were also lower by 4%, Marion McCourt, Regeneron’s executive vice president and head (commercial), said during the earnings call Thursday. She attributed this erosion to “increasing competitive pressure,” which likely pertains to Vabysmo (faricimab-svoa), though McCourt did not explicitly name Roche’s medicine.
Vabysmo, a bi-specific antibody, won the FDA’s approval in January 2022 for the treatment of wet AMD and diabetic macular edema (DME).
Eylea, meanwhile, is a recombinant fusion protein that acts as a decoy receptor to sequester vascular endothelial growth factor-A and placental growth factor away from their cognate receptors. In turn, Eylea normalizes the otherwise hyperactive and pathological blood vessel growth in the eyes in wet AMD.
Regeneron’s drug won its first approval in 2011 for wet AMD, and then again 2014 for DME. Eylea has since bagged other regulatory nods in the ophthalmology space. In 2022, the eye injection made Regeneron almost $6.3 billion in revenue, which includes its nearly $1.5 billion earnings during the fourth quarter.
Despite the slowdown in Eylea sales, Regeneron still saw overall positive margins during the first quarter of 2023, posting more than $3.1 billion in total revenue, up 7% from the same quarter the year prior.
Much of this growth was driven by Dupixent (dupilumab), its atopic dermatitis medicine developed in partnership with Sanofi, Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer said during Thursday’s call. In the first quarter of 2023, Dupixent accounted for 25% of Regeneron’s revenues, more than four times its 6% share in 2019.
“We expect this trend of revenue growth, along with diversification to continue,” Schleifer said.
To weather the falling sales of Eylea, Regeneron is banking on the diversification of its portfolio. For example, only Eylea’s 2-mg dose is approved for use in the U.S., and an upcoming FDA target action date could allow the drug to be given at an 8-mg dose. If approved, this dose level could also contribute to the company’s total revenue, while the 2-mg injection will account for a diminishing share.
Beyond Eylea and Dupixent, Regeneron’s oncology business is also “starting to make a meaningful contribution to our top line,” Schleifer said. The skin cancer medicine Libtayo (cemiplimab-rwlc), for instance, earned $110 million in the U.S. and $67 million in international markets in Q1.
Regeneron bought full global rights to Libtayo from Sanofi in June 2022. The pharma partners developed the therapeutic antibody together.
To keep its diversification project going, Regeneron is also pumping more money into R&D. During the first quarter of 2023, the company spent $1.1 billion in R&D activities, 30% higher than its investment during the same period in 2022.
Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.