Allergan purchased AqueSys (developer of the Xen Gel Stent) in a $20 million deal earlier this year. “Just a few years ago, the energy and excitement in ophthalmology was not in glaucoma,” said Dave LeCause, vice president, US eye care. Between 2010 and 2014, the US glaucoma market remained flat, but the introduction of micro-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices has “made this MIGS space ready to explode.”
Companies with an established portfolio tend to look to expand or add depth to their offerings, LeCause said. “That speaks directly to the one view Allergan had taken in this particular space.”
When analyzing the glaucoma market, however, there are numerous factors that make it an obvious growth area: it’s a prevalent disease and more patients will need treatment to control it. Topical therapy will continue to play a role and be foundational treatments, but non-compliance will remain a key unmet need.
“Care is being compromised, and is placing a heavy cost burden on the system,” LeCause explained, which will continue to drive the development of other treatment modalities.
The overall glaucoma market is expanding beyond topical treatments: MIGS devices are expected to grow at a 42% annual rate between 2014 and 2020. By 2020, topical medications are only expected to comprise 64% of the market, with MIGS grabbing 18%, and sustained delivery systems taking another 15%.
“The bar should be raised in terms of expectations in this category,” he said.
Mr. LeCause has over two decades of sales leadership, marketing and strategic planning experience in the specialty pharmaceutical and biotech business, and over 25 years’ experience in the U.S. Eye Care market.