By Tamara Mathias
Aug 12 (Reuters) - Evolus Inc on Monday reported revenue of $2.3 million from early sales of its newly launched rival to Allergan Plc's Botox, ahead of its own expectations.
Jeuveau, a neurotoxin drug to treat forehead wrinkles, was launched on May 15 and competes with Botox, which has grown to dominate the medical aesthetics market since it was launched in 2002.
Evolus has rolled out a marketing program called J.E.T (Jeuveau Experience Treatment) that ties up with medical aesthetics clinics to provide new customers with up to three shipments of the treatment for free.
The company said over 5,000 accounts had enrolled in the program in the first 90 days of its launch, exceeding its own expectation of 3,000. Evolus said some accounts comprised entire chains of medical clinics, so the number of doctors that had tried the product was likely higher than 5,000.
The majority of sales recorded came from early adopters that had completed the J.E.T program, Chief Executive Officer David Moatazedi told Reuters in an interview.
Three-quarters of patients had switched over from rival therapies and the rest that tried the drug had never used a neurotoxin before, a testament to the growing market, he added.
"We did not anticipate revenue coming in in the second quarter in a meaningful way given the size and the scale of the J.E.T program," Moatazedi said.
"We're looking at the early metrics around our launch and our confidence level remains intact that we can achieve the number two market position ... in the next 24 months."
Over the years Allergan's Botox has evolved from a cosmetic injection to a treatment for migraines and bladder dysfunction. Sales of the drug rose 4.2% to $974 million in the latest quarter, but missed consensus estimates of $992.3 million.
The treatment will likely have a new owner next year, as AbbVie Inc in June announced a $63 billion deal to buy Allergan.
Moatazedi said Evolus had no plans to expand Jeuveau's label beyond treating frown lines, or to explore its medical use.
However, it is common practice for neurotoxins to be used off label for other cosmetic procedures, such as treating crow's feet.
Evolus said net loss widened to $37.57 million, or $1.37 per share, in the three months ended June 30, from $16.43 million, or 69 cents per, share last year.
Operating expenses more than doubled to $37.65 million, as the company hired a sales force to launch Jeuveau in the United States and spent on marketing efforts. (Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)