Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) growth prospects are tied to its sole marketed product Soliris.
The drug has been recording strong sales in both its approved
indications - paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and
atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS). However, the drug is
very expensive. It is the high price of the drug which has led
UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
to seek clarification from Alexion. The information has been
sought by the NICE through the draft guidance produced by its new
highly specialised technologies program.
We note that Alexion is seeking approval to sell its highly
successful drug in the UK. However, the biopharmaceutical company
has been waiting for UK approval for quite a few years now. The
NICE, while acknowledging that Soliris was a very effective drug
for treating aHUS - a rare blood disorder, has asked Alexion to
clarify the high price associated with the drug (£34,200 per
adult). The NICE said that Soliris therapy for aHUS patients in
the UK would cost £57.8 million to the National Health Service in
the first year (assuming approval). The acknowledgement of the
efficacy of Soliris for treating aHUS is in line with the
positive recommendations issued by the advisory group for
national specialised services (AGNSS) and NHS England on the
Due to the high cost, the independent advisory committee has
asked for additional information from the company such as its
research and development costs on Soliris. NICE also intends to
seek clarifications from NHS England on the treatment costs
before issuing a final guidance to the latter.
Soliris is already available in markets such as the U.S., Japan
and the EU for aHUS. Approval of Soliris for aHUS in the UK would
further boost the drug's sales potential. We expect investor
focus to remain on updates from the UK on Soliris.
Alexion carries a Zacks Rank #1(Strong Buy). Stocks such as
) carry the same rank as Alexion.
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