Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Allergan "eyeing" FDA approval of new eyelash stimulating medicine Latisse

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.

From Seeking-Alpha

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.



Angie said...

It will be interesting to see how this product does in the pharmacy. Seems like mascara is the cheaper (and perhaps safer?) alternative. I can't imagine any insurance companies paying for this. Thanks for the update!

Dr. Rob Oliver Jr. said...

No this drug will be strictly cosmetic Angie, but I think the planned price point is south of $100. In the ballpark that Rogaine was when it was first introduced (not that I know anything about Rogaine) which was a mini blockbuster for Roche Pharm.

Anonymous said...

Personally, mascara still seem easier.

My ophthalmology-was-a-long-time-ago (and wasn't paying attention after revolted by her first foreign body in eye experience) would also wonder if there is an ocular effect of the drug- surely some would get into the eye? And is that a good thing, when there is a non pharmacologically active well accepted alternative i.e. coating lashes with goop?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Allergan product would also work for brows.

A cosmetic sales manager at Nordstrom South Coast Plaza told me that women are buying Enormous Lash ($95 for the size of a small tube of mascara) and using it for brow hair regrowth; cancer patients are buying it for that reason too. Kind of interesting since Allergan is just a few miles away by the John Wayne Airport. ;)

I bought a tube of Enormous Lash and it has been somewhat effective - I've had some regrowth.

Anonymous said...

first off, revitalash has the same ingredients, its just not fda approved. i have insane lashes from revitalash and my brows grew wild, but the downfall? my eyelids turned orange and supposedly it could change my beautiful hazel eyes to brown. hmmm, ya i stopped using that stuff. but i work with a lady who is a rep for botox an she says after many years of research, no one had orange lids or brown eyes . an she said its goin to be no less than $150 and no insurance covers this since its cosmetic. but if it gives me the same results as revitalash did without the side effects, im stoked!!!

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