Allergan, maker of the popular Natrelle breast implants and BOTOX cosmetic is apparently poised to receive FDA approval of their next potential blockbuster. The new product, Latisse, is a topically applied drug which is effective for growing and thickening eyelashes. While that sounds like a superficial indication, there is expected to be a huge pent up demand for such a product.
Allergan received an approval recommendation today from a FDA advisory panel for Latisse (bimatoprost solution 0.03%) as a cosmetic medicine treatment which would represent the first and only FDA-approved product to enhance eyelashes (making them darker, longer, and thicker). Latisse would be packaged with a special applicator to apply the drops on the edge of the eyelid as compared to the current use of bimatoprost as Lumigan, which is already on the market as a treatment for glaucoma to lower eye pressure.
Allergan estimates peak sales for Latisse of $500M, compared to trailing 12-month sales of $4.4B, with an expected FDA action date by mid-2009 on the pending NDA. Allergan is also a component in the ETFI Cosmetic & Reconstructive Medicine Index and could be a takeover target for big pharma after Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) agreed to pay $1.1B for breast implant maker Mentor (MNT) – although the market cap of Allergan is much larger at $11.7B with a wider range of businesses such as specialty pharma, medical devices, and cosmetic medicine.
Last Winter, cosmetic manufacturer, Jan Marini, was forced to pull a similar product off the market by the FDA because (as I understand it) they 1) didn't have FDA labeling approval to promote themselves for that indication, 2) didn't have any clearance to sell a prescription glaucoma drug (which was the active ingredient) over the counter, and 3) Allergan had patent rights on the substance that was the active ingredient. Talk about ballsy! A blurb last winter from the "Truth in Aging" blog about this can be read here.
I guess I must just have the "vision" thing for this sort of product as I kind of shrugged my shoulders when I heard about it before. However, pre-market surveys indicate there is a BIG market for it, and the price of this product is going to be fairly low. Expect every Tom, Dick, & Harry fringe aesthetic medical provider to be pushing it I predict.