Merz Pharmaceuticals recently announced the FDA approval of the drug Xeomin, which is similar to BOTOX, both of which contain botulinum toxin type A. Initial FDA-approval of Xeomin is for the treatment of cervical dystonia or blepharospasm, both of which are neurological in nature and can be considered quite painful and for some, disabling. To date, the only competitor to BOTOX has been Dysport - could Xeomin be the next BOTOX?
Similar to BOTOX, Xeomin works by injection into the site to cease muscle spasms from the nerve. A. Botulinum toxin A is a neurotoxin produced in tandem with complex proteins by the bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Xeomin differs from BOTOX and Dysport by isolating the therapeutic component from the ancillary complex proteins, therefore delivering more biologic activity and less protein load.
Another way that Xeomin differs from BOTOX and Dysport, is it does not require refrigeration prior to reconstitution. By simplifying the usage, Merz believes there will be less room for human error while preserving product integrity.
While Xeomin has not been approved for cosmetic use, it won't be far behind as physicians begin to offer it as an off-label procedural option to patients. American Health and Beauty editor, Keith Veseleny, says, "It is in the consumer's best interest to have as many safe and viable alternatives as possible. The more tools a physician has in his tool chest, the more informed options he can offer to a patient." In response to whether or not Xeomin poses any serious threat to BOTOX sales, Mr. Veseleny said, "We will have to wait and see if Xeomen puts a dent in the Allergan [BOTOX manufacturer] armor - despite competing with Dysport for the last 15 months, they released great results this week."
In an earnings release from Allergen this week, Botox sales rose 7% in the quarter to $360.5 million. Looking ahead, Allergan said it now believes the drug will post sales of $1.36 billion to $1.39 billion this year, which compares with a forecast in February for $1.33 billion to $1.37 billion.
There is obviously room in this market for more players.