There's a lot of talk about the cost savings of SQ but Roche originally wanted the SQ versions of their drugs to protect their patents - pure and simple. I was just reading the UK NICE report on SQ Herceptin, which stated that the EU patent on Herceptin expires in 2014 and there may be generic versions of Herceptin on the market shortly thereafter. So say a generic pharma sells generic Herceptin at a 50% discount to the Roche SQ Herceptin price. In the UK that would be an annual saving of £11,000 per patient. Surely that is going to be a greater saving than the cheaper SQ versus IV administartion saving. So SQ Herceptin may in fact turn out to be more expensive overall than generic IV Herceptin. Is this why Roche seems to be turning cold on SQ Herceptin and will concentrate on replacing Herceptin once the patent expires with their new drugs?
Wrong again- generic/biosimilar costs are rising with brand AND the true savings of any subcutaneous formulation of a drug is found in the elimination of all the costs of hospital outpatient departments and infusion centers as well as the added and hidden costs of nosocomial infection inherent in their use. These patients are sick- hospitals are the worst place for them. Better the safety of their own homes after a bit of training on administering the 5 minute not 2-3 hr dose. The Safeher and Prefher studies declare loud and clear that Subcut wins hands down over IV. Baxter your declared "IV Company" reiterated this obvious conclusion in the words of
their President of Bioscience, Ludwig Hantson, who declared that the future profits of HyQ depended on Subut, with IV Gammagard relegated to "A side business".
Roche has sales of $50B and has more than one breast cancer drug on the market and underdevelopment. You are correct that the patents for Herceptin start to expire in future years beginning in 2014 in the EU. However, it is my understanding that getting approval for biosimilars (generics of biologics) is complicated as clinical trials are required for the regulatory approvals. Further, it is expensive to make biosimilars, thus prices may not be significantly down compared to the original biologic.Also, Herceptin SC will have a competitive advantage because it is easier and faster to administer and more convenient to the patient. One should not discount these factors (and the overall reduction in cost).
In Roche's June 28, 2013 press release they stated, "Roche is working with regulatory authorities around the world to ensure patients who are eligible for treatment with Herceptin have the option of choosing this more convenient therapy." So I guess you are suggesting Roche is a liar by your comment, " Roche seems to be turning cold on SQ Herceptin and will concentrate on replacing Herceptin once the patent expires with their new drugs." We can speculate all we like and you can continue to try to jawbone down the stock price, but instead I suggest that we listen to Roche's conference call on Thursday, since I am expecting that new information will come out on the call.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
I believe Roche recently stated that they did not expect biosimilar competition until late 2016 or 2017. This will give SQ a chance to gain market share and acceptance. The clear patient preference for SQ could make it a tougher task for biosimilars to supplant it. Physician uptake of biosimilars is also projected to be very slow.
"Biologic medicines, by contrast are typically produced within engineered cells. Rather than taken orally, they are injected in the bloodstream. In sum, the production of generic versions of biologics is less predictable than producing simple generics. For example, somatropin (human growth hormone), which is a small biologic, can contain 10 to 1000 times more atoms than a simple drug. And while some small biologics might more easily be reproducible, not all biologics are created equal. Large biologics—antibodies, such as Herceptin—are a diverse mixture of molecules that can contain 250 to 25,000 more atoms."
While it barely missed statistical significance, Herceptin SC improves efficacy by about 2-5%. This may be lost on some, but any oncologist worth their salt will point this out to their patient. Herceptin SC will still be the initial drug of choice against biosimilars and newer Roche medicines, because Roche's new drugs are more toxic versions of herceptin by adding cocktails and biosimilars will have to be infused. Herceptin SC on the other hand does not suffer from these issues..