Fri, May 25, 2018 - Page 12 News List

TaiMed forecasts quarterly sales growth as HIV drug sales in US market take off

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

TaiMed Biologics Inc (中裕新藥) expects quarterly sales to grow this year as a distribution partner expands prescription reimbursement coverage for Trogarzo, its newly approved HIV/AIDS drug.

Since gaining approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in March and commencing sales in the US on April 30, Trogarzo’s commercialization has been progressing at pace similar to that of previous new HIV/AIDS drug launches, TaiMed chief financial officer Jack Chen (陳怡成) yesterday told an investors’ conference in Taipei.

Montreal-based Theratechnologies Inc, TaiMed’s marketing and distribution partner in the US and Canada, is expected to finish negotiations with major public and private health insurance firms in the next four to six months, he said.

Based on precedents set by 13 other antiretroviral drugs, Trogarzo sales are expected to peak in its fourth year in that market, Chen said.

The US is the world’s biggest market for HIV/AIDS treatments, with about 1.4 million people infected, of which 450,000 to 650,000 are receiving treatment and an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 have developed multidrug resistance, he said.

TaiMed is looking to tap into the demand from an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 patients with multidrug resistance who are in need of alternative treatment options, such as Trogarzo, he added.

The company this year adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards 9 guidelines, marking a switch from the International Accounting Standards 18 it had been using until the end of last year, Chen said.

The change in accounting rules would affect the recognition of earnings from milestone payments and the valuation of 2.3 million Theratechnologies shares TaiMed received as part of its partnership with the Canadian firm, he said.

“We expect continued revisions to international accounting standards and are ready to make adjustments,” Chen said.

“It is better to track the company’s operating performance on a quarterly basis, as monthly sales could fluctuate widely due to time lag,” he said, adding that Trogarzo is produced by a manufacturing partner in China and product shipments to packaging and logistics centers in the US are based on anticipated demand.

The company’s NT$1 billion (US$33.4 million) plant in Hsinchu County’s Jhubei City (竹北) is expected to come online in 2020, which would help diversify production and cut reliance on WuXi Biologics (無錫生物製藥), a Chinese contract manufacturer, he said.

Inhouse manufacturing is expected to bring cost savings of 20 percent to 40 percent, he added.

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