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Astellas Launches Betmiga in the UK

Zacks Equity Research

Astellas Pharma, Inc. (ALPMY) recently announced the launch of its overactive bladder (:OAB) drug, Betmiga (mirabegron), in the UK.

Betmiga had gained EU approval for the treatment of OAB symptoms in adults in Jan 2013. We note that Astellas' Betmiga is already approved in the US where it is available under the trade name, Myrbetriq. It is also approved in Japan under the trade name Betanis.

Our Take

We are encouraged by the UK launch of Betmiga. The drug will be available throughout Europe as part of the launch plan. According to information provided by Astellas, OAB affects around 7 million adults in the UK.

According to information provided by Astellas, OAB is estimated to affect more than 400 million people globally. According to a population-based prevalence study, 17% of men and women are affected by OAB in Europe with the prevalence increasing to 30-40% in people above 75 years of age.

Betmiga is the first once daily oral β3-adrenoceptor agonist to be approved for the treatment of OAB. Betmiga has a different mechanism of action compared to antimuscarinics, which are the current standard of treatment.

Results on Betmiga showed that it improves the storage capacity of the bladder without inhibiting bladder voiding. Thus, it has the ability to decrease the urge to urinate and leads to lower incontinence episodes. It has lower side effects as well. This should help Betmiga capture a significant share of the OAB market.

Currently approved OAB treatments include Warner Chilcott’s (WCRX) Enablex and Pfizer’s (PFE) Toviaz.

Astellas carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Right now Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI) looks more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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