Elan ‘to double’ Tysabri share

ELAN is hoping to double its share of the multiple sclerosis treatment market, — through its headline drug, Tysabri — to 20%, within the next four years.

Chief executive Kelly Martin yesterday said that target is “very appropriate,” given Elan already has a near 12% share of the market.

It is hoped that Elan’s pending test programme for patients to see if they have the so-called JC Virus — the main cause of PML, the rare and potentially fatal brain disease that is sometimes a side effect of Tysabri — will significantly reduce the risk of users contracting PML.

“The MS market is growing by 8%-9% and there are likely to be around 900,000 people on MS treatment by 2015. If we can reduce the PML risk many of those people should be on Tysabri.

“If you don’t have the JC Virus, but do have MS, why wouldn’t you use Tysabri? We only see an upside to the target, not any downside,” Mr Martin said after Elan’s annual general meeting in Dublin, yesterday.

He added that Elan’s focus remains its core neurological business and growing Tysabri further, but it should also continue to expand its reach and is likely to sign another significant licensing agreement/strategic partnership before the end of the year, following on from this week’s $20 million (€14.16m) equity investment in US firm, Proteotasis Therapeutics.

“Elan has the opportunity to be a great company,” he said.

New chairman Bob Ingram said the board hasn’t yet moved on identifying a target to succeed Mr Martin, who is set to stand down as chief executive next year but remain as a consultant director.

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