Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - Page 12 News List

TaiMed seeks to allay concerns after zero sales

NEGOTIATIONS:There will likely be no sales again this month before the HIV/AIDS drug reaches the accelerated growth stage at the end of this year or early next year

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

TaiMed Biologics Inc president and CEO James Chang is pictured at the company’s shareholders’ meeting in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Yung-chi, Taipei Times

TaiMed Biologics Inc (中裕新藥) yesterday sought to allay investor concerns over a lack of sales last month, saying its HIV/AIDS treatment Trogarzo gained marketing approval in the US at the end of April.

The company reported zero sales last month, compared with NT$31.11 million (US$1.05 million) in April.

Trogarzo is still early in its product cycle and Montreal-based Theratechnologies Inc, TaiMed’s marketing and distribution partner in the US and Canada, is still negotiating prescription coverage terms with US public and private health insurance providers to make the drug available to more patients, TaiMed president and chief executive officer James Chang (張念原) told the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Taipei.

The company has raised its forecast on the proportion of public health insurance carriers to 75 from 60 percent, Chang said, adding that this is favorable, as private carriers tend to drive hard bargains on drug prices.

Chang attributed April’s sales spike to Theratechnologies placing an initial order for 2,500 vials of Trogarzo, which he said would be enough to treat 300 patients for a month.

As of May 20, the company has signed 100 insured patients, with another 100 expected by the end of this month, he added.

At the current rate of patient acquisition, it would not be surprising to see another month without sales before the drug enters the accelerated growth stage in the second half of this year or early next year, when sales could reach as high as 10,000 vials a month, Chang said.

The company aims to supply Trogarzo to between 60 and 70 percent of the estimated 12,000 to 13,000 multidrug resistant HIV/AIDS patients in the US who require alternative treatments, he said, adding that the company would have to meet demand from 15,000 patients globally.

The company is continuing its efforts to expand production capacity to satisfy the demand, and its new plant in Hsinchu County’s Jhubei City (竹北) is expected to start production in 2020, Chang said.

The company wants to diversify its product base and reduce its reliance on its sole contract manufacturer, which has driven up costs to about 20 percent of drug sales, he said.

The company has 2.3 million Theratechnologies shares from its partnership with the Canadian company, which provided non-operating income of NT$30 million in the first quarter as a result of share price gains.

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