- Pharma giant AbbVie has purchased a priority review voucher from United Therapeutics for $350 million. This voucher will allow the company to accelerate the approval process for one of its drugs.
- United Therapeutics received the rare pediatric disease review voucher in March after Unituxin, its drug for neuroblastoma, was approved by the FDA.
- Earlier this year, AbbVie bought a pediatric voucher from Retrophin for $245 million.
Now that AbbVie has two priority review vouchers in hand, the question is which drug candidates will they choose to accelerate through the approval process. With late-stage candidates in various therapeutic areas, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and diabetic retinopathy, there are more options than there are vouchers.
The market for priority review vouchers has grown in value since BioMarin sold its voucher to Regeneron in summer 2014 for $67.5 million. It has become clear to biopharma companies that if a drug candidate is promising, and if there is a lot of potential competition for the product, a few months' head start in getting to market can make a huge difference in financial terms.
That's why AbbVie and other companies using vouchers are so selective and strategic about how they use them—a strategy that ultimately could pay off in a big way.