Allergen – facing increasing competition – March 2007


US wrinkle market turns ugly in battle to save faces In only five years Botox, has literally changed the face of wrinkles and the fortunes of its US manufacturer Allergan Inc. But its stranglehold on the neurotoxin market may be coming to an end.

Arizona based Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., which sells the No 1 filler Restylane in the US, recently bought its own neurontoxin, Reloxin, which is undergoing patient trials and says it will bring it to the market in 2008

Likewise Allergan is also in the process of rolling out its own dermal filler, Juvederm which it recently acquired as part of the recent $3.4m purchase of Inamed. This also included a line of silicon breast implants and the LapBand, an obesity treatment.. The FDA recently lifted a 14-year ban on silicon implants which opens up the market and also recently approved the filler Radiesse made by private US company Bioform Inc.

And there is a growing band of competitors: The FDA recently granted approval of Radiesse, made by private company Bioform and two new entrants in the European market, FzioMed, a California recently launched into the UK with synthetic filler called Laresse and Germany’s Merz Pharma with another hyalauronic treatment. Both will likely use this as a stepping-stone to the bigger US market.

The market for non-surgical treatments in the US including drugs, dermal fillers and other devices used in cosmetic medicine is growing and now totals about $15 billion, says Medical Insight Inc., a California market-research firm. While the demand for traditional face lifts and liposuction has fallen by 5% between 2000 and 2005.

The bigger drug companies are also showing interest in the aesthetic filler market – last year Johnson & Johnson bought a small Israeli company with a wrinkle-fighting collagen product called Evolence that is already available in the UK but may launch on the US market later this year.
In 2003, Arizona-based Medicis acquired the US rights for the dermal filler Restylane from Sweden’s Q-Med AB, and introduced it to the market in 2004, and it has grown rapidly since. The company began life in 1988 with “under a few million dollars” but it now has revenue of $360 million in 2005.

Allergan, based in Irvine, Calif., has been around for more than 50 years and first made its name name in eye-care medicines. In 2005 it reported sales of $2.32 billion of which Botox accounted for $1m of sales. Despite its popularity Botox is as expensive as ever with phial costing $505 – 50% more than nine years ago.
So while new entrants may mean more affordable treatments for the consumer, how will shareholders fare in 2007? Well, the market is huge and still growing so it may be able to sustain more competition, particularly if pricing makes it more widely available growing revenues. Allergan’s shares have increased steadily in value putting on 11% during 2006 to reach a high of $123. Medicis has also gained in value and its shares hit a year high of $40.31. Even so Allergan’s share’s a like gold dust.Buy