- Biohaven Pharmaceuticals widely beat Wall Street expectations for sales of its migraine medicine Nurtec ODT, reporting Wednesday net product revenue in the second quarter that was nearly twice what analysts had forecast.
- Between April and May, Biohaven recorded approximately $93 million in sales of Nurtec ODT, which recently became the first drug approved for both on-demand and preventive treatment of the debilitating headache condition. Analysts were predicting around $50 million in sales.
- News of Nurtec ODT's fast sales, which appeared driven by higher patient demand, boosted Biohaven shares by 14% Wednesday, putting the biotech company's market value north of $7 billion.
Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Biohaven is a smaller drugmaker challenging some of the industry's largest.
Nurtec ODT, which first won approval for on-demand migraine treatment in February 2020, works similarly to AbbVie's Ubrelvy, and also competes with Eli Lilly's Reyvow in that indication. In preventive treatment, for which the Food and Drug Administration approved Nurtec ODT this May, there's competition from antibody drugs sold by Lilly, Amgen and Novartis, Teva Pharmaceutical and Lundbeck.
So far, though, Biohaven seems to be holding its own. Sales since launch have now eclipsed $200 million and, according to the company, more than 750,000 prescriptions have been written through June 30.
Lilly is taking the competitive threat seriously, announcing last month plans to run a trial directly comparing its drug Emgality to Nurtec ODT for preventive treatment of migraine.
Biohaven has invested in direct-to-consumer marketing, enlisting Khloe Kardashian and Whoopi Goldberg as spokespeople for Nurtec ODT and sponsoring a Nascar car. Ads featuring Kardashian are particularly ubiquitous, although Biohaven has been warned by the FDA over misleading claims made by her.
Analysts who spoke with company executives Wednesday indicated the strong second quarter sales appeared to be generally driven by rising demand and more favorable pricing, rather than one-time factors.
"Although we are unsure how much inventory for the prevention indication might have impacted the quarter, this performance is nonetheless fairly stunning," wrote Ken Cacciatore, an analyst at Cowen, in a research note.
Biohaven pre-reported its sales figures ahead of formally disclosing second quarter earnings later this summer.