J&J to take anti-wrinkle fight to Botox with new drug development

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

J&J to take anti-wrinkle fight to Botox with new drug development

Related tags: Botulinum toxin, Pharmacology

Allergan has long dominated the anti-wrinkle arena with its Botox product, but it appears cosmo-pharma giant Johnson & Johnson is preparing to offer serious competition, with the development of its latest drug.

Botox is currently the unrivaled leader in this space with a market share of 85 per cent, or $1.8 billion worth of sales every year, but J&J has been working tirelessly to develop its new anti-wrinkle drug to duke it out with Allergan.

The release is expected in 2015, and many analysts believe that it is the first time Botox may have a genuine challenger for its crown, due to the manufacturer’s size and financial clout.

Best chance

"J&J is probably the only company that can go head to head directly with Allergan,"​ Morningstar analyst Michael Waterhouse told Reuters. "They have a big marketing budget and sales force and an attractive cosmetic portfolio of other products to offer dermatologists”

"What we hope to offer is a product of certainly comparable quality to Botox ... to basically be on par with them in terms of effectiveness and safety,”​ David Wilson, president of J&J's mentor division, said to Reuters.

Presently, industry players are waiting for J&J to release results and data for the drug’s late stage trials that will show whether the still unnamed drug can really pose a serious challenge to the Botox monopoly, but Wilson has expressed the company’s optimism about the results, stating it has worked to make sure the data is exactly what the FDA is expecting to see.

Botox history of dominance

It is not the first time someone has tried to compete with Botox in the anti-wrinkle market, and this is where J&J may find it tough, due to Allergan’s consistent performance.

Other competitors have failed to set Allergan's Botox cosmetics back in sales, with only Dysport, produced by Valeant Pharmaceutical International and Xeomin, produced by MerzPharma Group, currently approved by the FDA as anti-wrinkle drugs; J&J will be expecting to leapfrog these two.

To outdo its competitors, many believe the new drug has to work faster, produce long lasting effects, and be more affordable than Botox.

Positives

The good news for J&J customers is its cosmetics experience and vast depth of product research. Even with that, analysts think that loyal Botox consumers might take time to switch to the new product because Allergan, the manufacturer of Botox, has built a strong brand.

The opportunity lies in emerging markets where Botox has not made serious inroads such as South America and Asia.

Morningstar believes that the drug is likely to find acceptance among people looking for the next big revelation that can deliver superior cosmetics results particularly in terms of youthful and wrinkle free skin.

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