Launch of Aimovig signals the start of a boom in the European migraine market

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Following the launch of Novartis’ anti-migraine drug, Aimovig, in Europe, Rahael Maladwala, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the potential growth of the market:

“The calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibody class has generated significant excitement among headache specialists since posting promising efficacy results in early stage clinical trials and the launch of Novartis’ Aimovig, the first of four CGRP mAb drugs expected to launch in the next two years, is expected to signal the start of some explosive growth in the migraine market.

“Migraine treatments can split into acute and preventative therapies, with preventative therapies particularly poor in terms of efficacy and safety. The CGRP mAbs will be the first preventative treatment developed specifically for migraine, and have demonstrated excellent efficacy and safety profiles in clinical trials.

“One of the interesting stories to keep an eye on is how the competition develops between the four CGRP mAbs. All four of these drugs, Novartis’ Aimovig, Eli Lilly’s galcanezumab, Teva’s fremanezumab, and Alder Biopharmaceuticals’ eptinezumab, are forecast to launch within two years of each other, and all of them have posted similar efficacy and safety data.

“This means market share is going to come down to smaller variables such as frequency of administration, position to market, and market access strategy. Each drug has its own set of advantages, Aimovig will be the first to market, Eli Lilly’s has significant experience in marketing drugs, and an extensive sales force, while both of the other drugs have a quarterly dosing regimen compared to monthly.”

Novartis’ Aimovig is forecast to be the European market leader in the field by 2026, according to GlobalData’s PharmaPoint: Migraine report, with sales of approximately $325m.

“However, despite the launch there are still one or two more hurdles for Novartis’ to overcome, most notably, reimbursement. Aimovig is not expected to be priced as highly in Europe as it is in the US, but it is still relatively expensive compared to other migraine treatments, and restrictions, similar to Botox – which can only be prescribed in patients who have failed at least two previous treatments, may be applied.

“If Novartis can successfully navigate these hurdles they essentially have a monopoly on the market, and have the opportunity to reach the huge underserved patient population before another CGRP mAb is launched. Ultimately, they would maintain their position as the top player in a market expected to experience significant growth for the foreseeable future.”

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