Allergan moneymaker Botox grabs another cosmetic approval, this time in forehead lines

Allergan’s Botox, which the company has called a “pipeline in a drug,” has delivered again.

On Tuesday, the FDA approved the blockbuster product to temporarily improve the appearance of certain forehead lines in adults. The green light marked the med’s third cosmetic indication—it also bears go-aheads to treat crow’s feet and glabellar lines—and makes it the only neurotoxin that can boast approvals in three separate facial treatment areas.

The approval presents another opportunity for Allergan in an aesthetics market that company CEO Brent Saunders has called the best market in the world.

“It's high-quality, it's cash-pay, it's global,” he said on this summer’s second-quarter earnings call. “We are just at the initial stages of market development in the U.S. and almost every market in the world. So we have very high conviction around the sustainability,” he added.

And with that in mind, the company has been working to bolster its lineup in that department. In February, it rolled out a $2.47 billion deal for body contouring leader Zeltiq; by July, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal wrote to clients that the treatment was steamrolling with 78% placement and 9% sequential growth among users.

The Dublin drugmaker also netted a January approval for new rosacea treatment Rhofade, which as of July had notched about 75% familiarity among practices, Gal wrote.

But those two newcomers, as well as the new Botox nod, will have to compensate for chin fat-buster Kybella, whose growth Gal has described as “meh.”

“Zeltiq and Rhofade look reasonably strong and as Meatloaf says, 'two out of three ain't bad,'” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Allergan is developing Botox—already approved for a number of medical uses, including chronic migraine prevention—for depression, a use that’s “going to be really valuable in psychotherapy, no doubt,” company R&D chief David Nicholson told FiercePharma in a December interview.

“We will need to educate the psychiatric community,” he acknowledged, but if Botox can prove its worth, “I have no doubt in my mind the psychiatric community will embrace it and will start giving injections,” he added.

Oct 4, 2017

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