Image source: ACADIA Pharmaceuticals.
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It's an interesting time to be an investor in ACADIA Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ACAD). Thecompany is in the middle oftransforming itself from a clinical-stage enterprise into a commercial one, which can be a tricky transition toexecutesuccessfully.
ACADIA is actively launching its new Parkinson's disease psychosis (PDP) drug, Nuplazid, which won FDA approval on April 29. PDP causes patients to experience hallucinations and delusions, which tend to increase in severity and frequency as the disease progresses. Dealing with these hallucinations often places asignificant burden on caregivers and is a major reason that many patients with Parkinson's disease are ultimately forced into a nursing home.
It is estimated that 40% of people with Parkinson's disease develop PDP, and since Nuplazid is thefirst and only FDA-approved medicine in the indication, expectations are running quite high. That's especially true now that the company announced that the annual wholesale price of Nuplazid will be $23,400. Multiply that by the roughly 400,000 patients in the U.S. with PDP, and the peak sales numbers get big in a hurry.
ACADIA recently reported results from the second-quarter and held a call with theinvestment community to share more details about the company's performance. Here are a few choice quotes from the call that every ACADIA shareholder needs to know.
On the low Q2 sales figure
Ramping up sales of a new drug like Nuplazid will likely take some time. Healthcare providers often need to be educated about how the drug works before they will write a prescription, and payers need to provide formal access before patients can afford the drug. Since Nuplazid officially launched for sale on May 31, this quarter's results include only one month of sales data.
Net sales for the quarter came in at $97,000, which is quite a bit below the $810,000 that analysts were projecting. Steve Davis, ACADIA Pharmaceuticals' CEO, offered some more commentary about the low sales figure in the quarter:
On building awareness
There's no doubt that ACADIA's primary focus right now is on building awareness and demand for Nuplazid. To do so, the company has hired and trained its own direct-sales team, who have started to targetphysicians across the country who treat patients with PDP.
Davis again gave more color on the company's launch plans and methods that they used during the quarter to spread the word:
Although the drug is still quite early into the launch, thecompany'sinitialmarketing efforts appear to be working.Here's some recent market research that ACADIA'schief commercial officer, Terrence Moore, shared with investors:
On insurance coverage
Seeing physician awareness so high this early is anencouraging sign, but getting payers on board is equally important. Chief Commercial Officer Terrence Moore offered more details on how that is progressing:
On future indications
PDP is an important indication for ACADIA, but the company isn't stopping there. Here's a look at the company's pipeline ofprojects.
ACADIA's drugs in development. Image source: ACADIA Pharmaceuticals.
As you can see, the company believes that pimavanserin (Nuplazid) could be useful in treating other diseases as well.
CEO Davis gave an update on future clinical work in this area:
There's nodoubt that the growth opportunity in front of Nuplazid is huge, so if management cansuccessfullyexecute on its commercialization plan then itwouldn'tsurprise me one bit to see the stock continue its winningways from today's price. Any growth investors with a high tolerance for risk might want to put this stock on their radar.
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Brian Feroldi has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.