Anika Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ANIK), a developer of products for tissue protection, healing and repair, announced that it has begun shipping Monovisc. The single-injection viscosupplement therapy is approved in Europe for treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms in all synovial joints.
Viscosupplementation therapy can restore the elastic and viscous properties of synovial fluid and thus recreate the intra-articular joint homeostasis that is disrupted in the degenerative joint. Because viscosupplementation therapy is based on the concept of replenishing a normal physiological component of synovial fluid and cartilaginous tissue, exogenous administration of hyaluronic acid has the potential to have few side effects or local or systemic reactions. Viscosupplementation represents an alternative treatment for patients with osteoarthritis in which oral medications and/or surgery are not options or are ineffective.
Clinical data appears to replicate the safety and efficacy of Anika’s popular Orthovisc (a similar treatment for pain resulting from osteoarthritis of the knee) but in a single injection regimen. A U.S. clinical study for Monovisc was initiated in January 2008; a separate clinical study is ongoing at several European sites.
Competing viscosupplements are indicated for specific joints and often require up to five injections for the same treatment outcome. Monovisc is designed for faster pain relief and longer durability. The single-injection regimen benefits both patients and physicians by minimizing the number of office visits, thereby lowering costs to the patient and the healthcare system.
In 2007, Anika made impressive revenue and net income gains, primarily attributable to Orthovisc sales in the U.S. market. Domestic sales of Orthovisc treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee grew to more than $10 million in 2007, a 92% increase from 2006. The company also made headway in its efforts to expand international distribution through a number of new potential partners.