In an unexpected development, Novartis (NVS) and Amgen (AMGN) filed competing lawsuits over a potentially lucrative relationship to jointly develop and market Aimovig, a new type of migraine treatment that some Wall Street analysts expect will become a multi-billion-dollar market.
The trigger for the dispute was a deal between Sandoz, the generic unit at Novartis, which agreed to do contract manufacturing work for Alder BioPharmaceuticals, which is developing its own migraine treatment. Amgen contended the deal breached its contract with Novartis, while Novartis argued Amgen is using this as a “pretext” to keep Aimovig profits for itself.
Amivog is a CGRP inhibitor that studies indicate can appreciably reduce the frequency at which migraines appear. Cowen analyst Yaron Werber forecast $1.1 billion in peak annual sales by 2023. But competition is stiff. Similar medicines are sold by Eli Lilly (LLY) and Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA), and all of the companies last year initially gave their medicines free to patients with private insurance to build brand loyalty.