Monday, October 18, 2010

Allergan shares jump after Botox migraine approval

Its shares rose $3.00, or 4.3 percent, to $71.88 in morning trade. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepted the potentially lucrative new use for Botox, Allergan's flagship product, late on Friday.

Allergan shares had risen in August when the company released information that indicated support of Botox for chronic migraine headaches use seemed near.

"Friday's approval of the chronic migraine indication for Botox will, we expect, prove to be a watershed in Allergan's revenue and earnings growth over the next some years," William Blair analyst Ben Andrew said in a research note.

Botox injections would be given around the head and neck every 12 weeks in an attempt to dull future migraines. Chronic migraine sufferers have headaches most days of the month. The drug has not been shown to work for people who have headaches 14 days or fewer per month.

Botox, with current annual sales of $1.4 billion, could eventually capture $600 million or more in additional annual sales from the migraine indication, according to analysts.

The product, which is injected and blocks nerve signals, is also being studied as a treatment for overactive bladder.

Botox is by far the world's biggest anti-wrinkle treatment. Allergan also has a dominant position with many of its other prescription drugs and medical devices.

It has more than 50 percent of the global market for breast implants, and its Juvederm is the leading dermal filler, used to smooth facial wrinkles. Allergan's Lap-Band, used in weight- loss procedures, commands two-thirds of the $300 million to $400 million gastric band market.

Moreover, Allergan has the industry's fastest-growing array of prescription eye medicines.

The company's leadership position in so many therapeutic areas has made it a darling of Wall Street, even though U.S. regulators have called Allergan to account for marketing Botox for unapproved non-cosmetic uses in recent years.

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