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Good News for InterMune

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InterMune, Inc. recently received encouraging news when the pricing and reimbursement conditions for its sole marketed drug, Esbriet, were approved by the Board of the Italian Drug Agency (AIFA). Esbriet is approved in the EU for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a fatal lung disease.

InterMune mentioned in its press release that around 6,000 to 9,000 patients suffering from mild-to-moderate IPF are currently living in Italy. Once launched, Esbriet will be the first drug to be commercially available in Italy for the treatment of IPF. InterMune expects the reimbursement process of the drug to start within the next few days. Esbriet’s gross ex-factory price is set at around $44,000 per patient, per year and is subject to a mandatory national discount of 9.75%.

Meanwhile, Esbriet has been successfully priced and reimbursed in 11 other European countries apart from Italy, namely, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, England, and Finland. The drug is already launched in all these countries except England and Finland where it will be launched soon. InterMune believes that it will generate revenues from these countries from the second half of this year.

Moreover, InterMune plans to conclude pricing and reimbursement discussions in Ireland shortly and potentially launch the drug there in the third quarter of 2013. The company also expects to provide an update on pricing and reimbursement discussions in Spain and the Netherlands by the end of the year.

InterMune expects to generate around $40−$70 million of Esbriet sales in 2013. The guidance includes $40–$55 million from countries where the product is currently launched and the rest from countries where the drug is yet to be launched.

Though Esbriet is the only approved medicine for IPF, companies like Novartis (NVS - Free Report) and Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) are also developing candidates for IPF.

InterMune presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, biotech stock Elan Corporation, plc currently looks more attractive with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).


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