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Amarin rides sales hot streak on the heels of Vascepa label expansion

Amarin scored a massive win last month after the FDA approved its fish-oil derivative Vascepa as a heart-helping addition to statins, potentially setting the drug up for blockbuster sales. With the future bright, Amarin is already touting sales that are beating analysts’ consensus––and it could be a sign of major things to come. 

Amarin said it would meet or top its fourth-quarter sales guidance of $410 million to $425 million just weeks after its label expansion, the company said Tuesday.

Not only that, Vascepa is already tracking well ahead with sales that are “extremely strong and well north of consensus,” according to Jefferies analyst Michael Yee. With the drugmaker planning to double its sales force to 800 in the coming months and a direct-to-consumer advertising campaign in the works, Amarin could continue to outpace Street estimates in the coming year, Yee said, putting the drugmaker’s value somewhere in the $12 billion range. 

“This remains one of the strongest launch drugs we’ve seen in the biotech industry and hence we think 2020 sales will also look good,” Yee wrote in a Tuesday note to investors.

After its label update last month, Amarin said it would raise its 2020 sales estimate to a high end of $700 million, which Yee said is around $50 million higher than Street estimates. 

After a resounding recommendation from an FDA advisory committee, Vascepa scored an FDA nod as an add-on to statins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with elevated triglycerides who have either established CV disease or diabetes with two additional CV risk factors.

With a broader label in hand, Vascepa is now poised to become the blockbuster drug Amarin hoped it would become after a major outcomes trial last year showed the drug on top of statins cut the risk of CV events by 25% in patients with abnormally high triglyceride levels. 

Following the decision, Amarin CEO John Thero said the company was well on track with its plan to double its sales force, hoping to reach between 70,000 and 80,000 health care professionals. The company is also working toward a DTC advertising campaign that could help it unlock even more sales potential, Yee said. 

But despite all those positives, Amarin’s stock price has mostly been a roller coaster over the past year, confounding some long investors. Part of the issue, according to Yee, was a degree of uncertainty around Vascepa’s chances at a label expansion and a patent litigation overhang that is expected to be settled in March or April. 

“Based on our expert (conference) calls and diligence, we are hopeful for a settlement before all of that or a positive patent victory which could clear a key overhang for investors,” Yee wrote.