Amarin Corporation, based in Bedminster, New Jersey and Dublin, Ireland, provided a mid-year update, noting that it is increasing revenue guidance for the year. It is also planning to dramatically expand its sales force for Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) because growth is faster than expected.
Vascepa is made up of a purified component of fish oil called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The drug has been approved to treat patients with triglyceride levels higher than 500 milligrams per deciliter, triple normal levels.
Part of the company’s update was to remind everyone that it has a September 28 target action date with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Vascepa for broader promotion of the drug. The sNDA is based on positive data from the REDUCE-IT cardiovascular outcomes trial. If approved, it will be the first drug to indicate it can decrease residual cardiovascular risk in patients with statin-managed LDL-cholesterol but persistently elevated triglyceride levels.
Amarin also reported record revenue levels. Net total revenue for the first quarter were $97 to $101 million and for the six-month mark, between $170 and $174 million. That’s an increase of about $44 to $48 million, or 84% to 92% for the second quarter 2019 over the same period of 2018 and an increase of $73 to $77 million, or 76% to 80% for the first half of 2019 over the same period last year. Those are mostly driven by Vascepa sales.
As a result, Amarin increased its net total revenue guidance for the year to $380 to $420 million.
And because of the growth of Vascepa, it plans to increase the size of its U.S. sales force to about 800 sales representatives. It hopes to have the expanded team hired, trained and in the field by October 2019. This will essentially double the size of its current sales force.
The company noted, “The size of the planned expansion reflects the result of evaluations involving multiple contributing factors. Previously Amarin had estimated the potential expansion of its sales force to reach between 600 and 800 sales representatives and for the expansion to potentially occur in phases. The decision to expand the sales to approximately 800 sales representatives by October 2019 was based on new information including the encouraging progress being made by sales representatives hired at the start of 2019, positive feedback from physicians with deep understanding of the REDUCE-IT data, additional data on the commercial opportunity that exists in detailing physicians who have not yet been educated about Vascepa and data suggesting that education of healthcare professionals regarding Vascepa will be improved if our sales representatives call on physicians with greater frequency.”
Last year, Amarin hired and deployed 265 new sales members within about three months after the REDUCE-IT trial data was reported. They received more than 20,000 applications for those open sales jobs. Based on that, as well as the Vascepa trial data, the company believes it can double its sales force to 800 by October.