Biotech giant Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) said Monday that sales of its linchpin Eylea drug in the final quarter of 2022 were hurt by a shift to an off-label competitor. REGN stock plunged on the news.

Citing preliminary data, Regeneron reported Monday that full-year 2022 sales of its Eylea (aflibercept) injection for retinal diseases rose 8%, year over year, to $6.26 billion.

But Eylea sales were sluggish in the final quarter of 2022, down 3% to $1.5 billion, the company said. A Regeneron presentation Monday revealed that Eylea sales were “negatively impacted by a short-term shift to off-label use of compounded Avastin.”

It also cited the “temporary closing in Q4 2022 of fund that provides patient copay assistance.” The presentation added that the “most recent Q4 2022 market data suggests that shift to off-label Avastin is already beginning to reverse.”

REGN Stock Plunges On Eylea News

Avastin is an immunotherapy drug. First approved to treat cancer, it now also treats wet age-related macular degeneration as an “off-label” use.

Avastin is made by Genentech, owned by Switzerland’s Roche Holding (RHHBY), which trades over the counter.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting Eylea sales of $6.43 billion in full-year 2022. Regeneron is due to report earnings for the fourth quarter and full year on Friday, Feb. 3.

Regeneron stock plunged 7.7% to close at 680.49 on the stock market today. REGN stock decisively undercut the 50-day moving average Monday while hitting its lowest level since Sept. 8 last year. But the biotech stock found support at the 200-day line in Monday trade.

Roche stock lost 0.5% to 39.38 Monday.

New Eye Drug Shows Promise

On Sept. 8, REGN stock skyrocketed on news that an 8-milligram dose of eye drug aflibercept successfully treated patients with diabetic macular edema. Also, it treated wet age-related macular degeneration.

Aflibercept, the generic form of Regeneron’s eye drug Eylea, is used to treat various retinal diseases. In 2021, Regeneron generated $5.8 billion in Eylea sales.

In the past year, REGN stock has climbed 12.6% vs. a 16.7% decline for the S&P 500 index.


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