Roche Holding AG expects to have reimbursement for blockbuster eye drug Vabysmo in the top five European markets by the end of the year, broadening the reach of its fastest growing product.
(Bloomberg) — Roche Holding AG expects to have reimbursement for blockbuster eye drug Vabysmo in the top five European markets by the end of the year, broadening the reach of its fastest growing product.
Roche is wrapping up negotiations with payers in Italy, France and Spain and is confident of securing national reimbursement this year in all three countries, the company said. The eye injection is already widely available in the UK and Germany. Vabysmo won European marketing authorization in September of last year, but coverage via public insurance in continental countries generally requires an agreement about pricing.
Roche still aims to hit $2 billion in sales for Vabysmo this year, said Nilesh Mehta, the Basel-based drugmaker’s franchise head for ophthalmology. It’s a key part of Roche’s strategy for compensating the loss of its pandemic-era windfalls on the sale of Covid-19 tests and treatments.
Already widely used in the US, the eye drug is also starting to see “really strong uptake” in other countries, Mehta said in an interview. He cited Switzerland and the UK, where drug advisory board NICE signed off on the product a week after approval there in May 2022. “This really demonstrates to us that even in a situation where cost effectiveness is demanded of a product, they’re seeing the value of Vabysmo,” he said.
Roche declined to comment on the drug’s price in the UK. In Germany, generally Europe’s most expensive market for drugs, Vabysmo has a list price of €1,136.52 ($1,241) per vial, about 40% below the US list price.
The shares were little changed in Zurich. Roche has dropped 12.5% this year, compared with an 8% gain in a Bloomberg index tracking European pharma.
(Adds shares in final paragraph. A previous version of the story incorrectly suggested the UK approved the drug in May this year. The company corrected the time of UK approval to May 2022 in the fourth paragraph.)
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