Analyst Michael Yee sees initial Viekira Pak scripts being small given the holiday week, but expects a gradual pickup throughout January.
Yee noted the following points:
- As a frame of reference and for comparison, Sovaldi's first week NRx scripts were 151 while Harvoni was 444 (vs. ~3400 most recently in its 10th week of launch). Some other references also include JNJ Olysio's first weekly NRx of 10 in December (then 40-107-93) or VRTX Incivek with 14 (then 83-320-457). We will track this and what GILD scripts are doing as ABBV comes on.
- We expect ABBV to gain generally low single digit share of NRx, picking up towards perhaps 5-10% over time or through Q1:15. That said, even 10% share of the current $12B USA market is $1.2B and can be meaningful for a competitor drug like ABBV's Viekira Pak.
- Modest competitor scripts to start while GILD keeps growing on its current run-rate during Q1:15 may help calm GILD investor concerns of aggressive competition and whether GILD will hit its 2015 consensus estimates. Note, GT 2,3 is ~25% of the HCV population and GILD's Sovaldi is the only approved regimen for these patients. Thus, GILD's Harvoni and ABBV's Viekira Pak are only competing within the 70-75% of patients that are GT1. Hence, theoretically even 20% share of GT1 for ABBV is <15% share in the total HCV market.
- We appreciate the other side of the argument whereby some investors could say the "lower" ABBV's Viekira share is vs consensus, the more "aggressive" ABBV might become with rebating...
RBC Capital has Gilead with an Outperform rating and $125 price target.
Disclosure: The author is long GILD.