Omrix Biopharmaceuticals: Passive Immunotherapy Beat Biosurgery Sales

Passive immunotherapy is pretty much what you’d guess from the name. It’s passive because the patient’s body isn’t doing it, and immunotherapy is essentially antibodies attacking an infection. So, you inject antibodies (imunoglobulin) from some other source into the patient who can’t make their own.

The patients can’t make their own antibodies for a variety of reasons, and therefore the antibody product that they’re given vary. Omrix Biopharmaceuticals (OMRI) has three antibody products currently in production.

  • IVIG (Intravenous immunoglobulin) is a general antibody product for patients that have been immunocompromised due to diseases or disorders. It’s currently only available in Israel, but Omrix is doing a combined Phase 1/2/3 to get FDA approval.
  • VIG (Vaccinia immunoglobulin) is used to treat patients that are experiencing complications due to small pox vaccinations. As you can imagine, this isn’t a big market since not that many people are given the vaccine, and an even smaller number have complications. But governments are paying for it (since it’s mostly military that get the vaccine), so Omrix did have $21.2 million in sales in 2006 from a UK government contract. But this product might have wide ranges in sales depending on government contracts. They are also developing a concentrated version of the product, HT-VIG, which would allow it to be administered as a shot instead of an hour-long intravenous infusion.
  • HBIG (Hepatitis B immunoglobulin) is used to prevent reinfection for patients that have a liver transplant after chronic HepB infection causes liver failure — it’s kind of a waste to reinfect the donated liver.
  • Omrix also has an antibody product in clinical trials:

  • WNIG (West Nile virus immunoglobulin), as you can probably guess, is for patients who have been infected with the West Nile virus. It’s in phase 1/2 trials and has orphan drug status which should help with competition if receives FDA approval.
  • While I would have figured that there was a greater market for Omrix’s biosurgery products, the immunotherapy product line actually had larger sales ($11.4 million) in the fourth quarter of 2006 than the biosurgery products ($4.3 million). This is mainly due to the $6.0 million from the UK government contract for VIG.

    OMRI 1-yr chart

    OMRI 1-yr chart