Amgen's chronic migraine-prevention drug shows promise in midstage trials
- In mid-stage trials, Amgen's chronic migraine drug, AMG 334, a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitor, significantly reduced the number of migraine days in chronic migraine sufferers, who had on average 18 migraine days per month.
- AMG 334-treated patients had 6.6 fewer migraine days, compared with placebo-treated patients who had 4.2 fewer migraine days. Both results are considered statistically significant versus placebo.
- Alder Biopharmaceuticals, Lilly and Teva are also at work on chronic-migraine drugs that target the CGRP receptor.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, 36 million Americans experience migraines. Other drugs taken to prevent migraines, like Botox or beta blockers, often have side effects that limit their use. Direct costs of migraines are roughly $2.5 billion per year, while indirect costs, including absenteeism, add $13 billion per year to the overall burden.
In the 1990s, treatment of acute migraines made a giant leap forward when triptans were introduced. These drugs, which are intended to be used after a migraine has started, are a source of pain relief for many patients. However, there continue to be serious unmet medical needs associated with chronic migraines.
CGRP, a sensory chemical protein, is involved with inflammation and pain signaling and is the target for all of the companies currently developing treatments for chronic migraine. Among the four companies developing in this space, Amgen is considered frontrunner, though Teva has also generated very strong data in terms of the reduction in the number of migraine days.
On the high end, analysts are looking for annual revenues of $1.5 billion for AMG 334.