The most overlooked number of weekly script counts is the Refill Scripts. It tells us how many patients have prescribed and stayed with the drug. If the drug is good, the refilled scripts will continue to grow as old patients keep their prescriptions and new patients are converting. In the case of Vascepa, this refill number continues to rise (except for holiday weeks). For the week of 07/12/13, this refill number reached 1,950 (highest to date). Since the prescription is for the whole month, for the 4 weeks ended 07/12/13, the total refill scripts are 7,076 or 7,784 (including 10% undercount). This number means that after 6 months, Vascepa has built a solid base of roughly 8,000 patients who will likely to stay with the drug for an extended length of time.
Another aspect of the refill script count is the type of the refills. My refill (yes, I am currently have Vascepa) is 3 months. I do not know how many prescription are refilled monthly but a large portion of the refill should be 3-month. Each of the 3-month refill may be reported as 1 but it actually translates to 3 (1 month prescriptions). Let say if the ratio of 3-month prescription is conservatively estimated as 60%, the patient base for Vascepa will increase by 60% * 2 (60% of the refill for 2 months). Putting together, we have a solid base of 8,000 + 8,000*60%*2 or 17,600 patients after 6 months. That is impressive especially considering the fact that Amarin small sale forces are competing against larger competitors (Lovaza, Niaspan) with 8-10 times the numbers.
A lot of people are complaining that current weekly scripts are not high enough. Consider this - if V is backed by a BP with 4 - 6 times larger sale force, the weekly scripts would be 20,000 - 30,000 after 6 months. That is a good indicator of a potential BB.
Interesting post .
I've given up trying to calculate revenue ---some refills are 30 days ( mine for example) some are 90 days
We don't know if the cash burn was as bad in the 2qt as it was in the 1st
We don't know the cost of the coupons etc
I just suspect that at the current growth rate we have a long way to go to break even.
What I am more frustrated by , is the fact that Vascepa has not made much of an inroad into the weekly scrips for Lovaza ( about 90 K ) and Niaspan ( about 60K )
Do you have any opinion on that ?
The results of the Thrive trial demonstrated little benefit from Niaspan ..especially if LDL cholesterol was a goal ...Vascepa is by far a safer , more effective and far better tolerated drug for Lowering TG's ---so I don't understand why we haven't taken more market share .
The only explanation I currently have is that its very hard for a small biotech with limited resources to go up against entrenched Big Pharm
As my Pharmacist said to me " I'm not saying Lovaza is a better drug ...its just that its backed by a bigger company and has better marketing "
However the fact remains that increasingly research is being published in peer review journals that demonstrate the ability of EPA to make arterial plaques more resistant to rupturing ( which causes the blockage -- heart attack ) and I'm sure Big Pharm is well aware of this research so buy out offers or partnership deal could materialize at any time since Amarin has the patents and the FDA approved EPA drug.
Just my laymans' view on things
I think I have I have come to the exact same conclusion as yours regarding AMRN valuation and Reduce-IT.
The way I see it, it really is ALL about Reduce-IT. The problem we have moving forward is that Reduce-IT is both a mega-asset but also a liability.
Let's talk mega-asset first. Obviously, if Reduce-IT is successful, vascepa will rip market share away from pretty much all trig lowering meds, it will allow for deep penetration into the ANCHOR market. All this so far is probably about 3.5 billion dollars per year give or take. (Okay rough estimate...) And of course, vascepa will pursue for the preventative card vasc disease indiciation, which might be another 3 billion (just going off of Amarin's estimate that the Reduce-it indication is twice marine+ anchor). So if Reduce-it is successful, I think we are looking at a 5-7 billion a year drug at it's peak. BUT it might get bigger, because the BP that owns vascepa would probably try to get more indications (inflammatory diseases, ect..).
Okay let's talk Reduce-IT unsuccessful. First off, kiss goodbye to the reduce-it indication (3 billion a year). But also kiss goodbye to a deeper penetration into ANCHOR and ripping shares away from trig lowering meds. The problem i see with a negative Reduce-IT outcome is that it is WORSE than not having Reduce-IT at all. With Reduce-IT results out in 2-3 years, it is a risk to sales momentum. If reduce-it is negative, I think we do 1.4 billion a year.
Therein lies the problem. The differential between Reduce-IT yes and no is HUGE. As a BP how would you offer a price? Would there be a massive CVR? As Joe Z, you don't want to take anything too low because of Reduce-IT's potential. Hence a deal is very tough to make....
Sentiment: Strong Buy
AK: As frustrated as you on the fact that V has not been able to gain bigger shares against L and N, I am mindful of the fact that we are dealing with formidable marketing BP machines which outmuscle V by the ratio of 10+ to 1. As of last week, V total market share increased to 2.5% but being a much better drug, you would think that it should be a bigger piece of the market. At this pace, it will take a long time before the regular person is educated enough to know about the benefits of V and actively requests for it.
IMHO, the low PPS was due to the fact that BP and shorts are having Amarin by the balls. They are playing hardball with Amarin in an attempt to negotiate for a lower offer. This situation will not change much until ANCHOR decision is clear at which time no one is able to hide the fact that we are dealing with a Billion-plus drug. Hedge funds will jump in and BP will fight with each other to buy Amarin.
The key factor here is not the weekly sales, it is the ANCHOR decision. BP’s know that V is a BB (with ANCHOR approval) but they do not want to risk a multi-billion decision. CEO’s would prefer to come with a 6B-7B offer after ANCHOR approval than to offer a reasonable 4B-5B before it. As a small investor, I am trying to research and try to see if ANCHOR would be approved this year. To date, I have not found any reason for it not being approved.
So, I am expecting V will continue to gain market share and its weekly scripts will increase by 200 to 300 a week. Its refill scripts will also increase as new patients are found and retained. All that will suddenly change if and when ANCHOR is approved. After the August earning and October ADCOM, the picture will be a lot clearer. For me, the risk is a $1 to $2 drop (if ANCHOR is delayed or denied) versus $10 to $15 gain (if ANCHOR is approved). What is your decision/strategy?
Current growth rate of NRx cannot keep growing. These 275 Reps can't just keep growing #s. it's a matter of hrs spent. If you think they are working 1/2 days now, then yes than can double the growth. I don't think they are working 1/2 days though.
- R/D and Gen Admin quarterly cost (from Biotechwill's): 63M
- Monthly prescription unit $220 with the target COG 25% (with improved manufacture cost structure).
The break-even point is reached when total sales = COG + R/D and Gen Admin. Another word, it happens when R/D and Gen Admin. = 75% of sales. This is achieved when QTR sales = 63M/75% or 84M. This translates to about 29K-30K/weekly scripts.
This is just a rough estimate. Our other experts Frenzychess, AK, ... may have different results.