* First country to approve Botox as migraine treatment
* Approval in other European countries expected
(Adds analysts' comments)
LONDON, July 9 Britain has become the first
country to approve Allergan Inc's (AGN.N) anti-wrinkle
injection Botox as a treatment for migraine, opening up a new
market for the product.
U.S. drugmaker Allergan said Botox was licensed by British
regulators on Friday for the prevention of headaches in adults
with chronic migraine.
Historically, treatment for chronic migraine has consisted
of a combination of over-the-counter and prescription
treatments such as triptans, tricyclic antidepressants,
beta-blockers and anti-epileptics.
"The authorisation of Botox marks an evolution in medical
care for the prevention of headache in adults with chronic
migraine. It is also a significant milestone in the history of
Botox and Allergan," said Scott Whitcup, Allergan's head of
research and development.
Ronny Gal, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said he expects
approval in other European countries will follow but that U.S.
approval is not guaranteed.
Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen estimates that Botox
sales for migraine in the European market could reach $200
million to $300 million.
"We believe the commercial opportunity for Botox in Europe
is smaller than the U.S. but still meaningful longer term,"
Biegelsen said in a research note earlier this week.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; additional reporting by Lewis
Krauskopf in New York; Editing by David Holmes and John