(Reuters) - Revance Therapeutics Inc (RVNC.O) will wait to seek partnerships with bigger drugmakers until it is closer to regulatory approval for its Botox rival treatment, Chief Executive Dan Browne told Reuters in an interview.
The California-based drug developer shook the aesthetic industry last week by reporting data that showed its drug RT002 reduced the severity of frown lines for about six months, almost double the 3-4 months Botox and other treatments achieve.
The news sent a shiver through investors who have bet on Botox owner Allergan Plc (AGN.N) and its development strategy, which relies heavily on the popularity of the treatment both in cosmetic and therapeutic procedures.
Allergan’s shares tumbled about 4 percent after Revance released the data, touching a near 4-year-low of $160.07.
Browne told Reuters that Revance would look to develop partnerships globally, but that he would prefer to wait until RT002 is closer to approval in the United States.
“We are not trying to build a company to sell, we are trying to build a real company with long-term survival,” Browne said.
He added that interest in the company should grow with the approval of RT002 for therapeutic indications as well as cosmetic uses.
“Our expectation is not be a follower, but to be a leader,” Browne said.
Botox came as a revolution for aging baby boomers and camera-conscious Generation X in 2002, when the drug was approved by U.S. regulators for treating glabellar lines - wrinkles between the eyebrows that make people look older and often less happy.
Rival treatments, including Galderma’s Dysport and Merz Pharma’s Xeomin, have failed to dislodge Allergan from a market that is growing around 8 percent annually and expected reach around $7 billion in overall value.
Several analysts say RT002’s test results show it may prove a better alternative to existing short-acting toxins and could significantly cut into Botox’s sales.
“People have been asking for years (for) something that can last longer than 3 months,” Dr. Joely Kaufman, a dermatologist and lead investigator in Revance’s trial, told Reuters last week.
Browne declined to comment on the treatment’s likely commercial value but some analysts estimated RT002 could capture 20 percent - or more than $1 billion - of the overall botulinum toxin market in the United States by 2028, as well as a similar portion globally.
“We believe the biggest near-term threat (for Allergan) would be an acquisition of Revance by a major global competitor like Galderma or Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N),” Leerink analysts wrote in a client note last week.
Allergan shrugged off any concern posed by Revance’s potential entry into the market.
“Allergan does not expect Revance’s toxin to enter the market until mid-2020 and we do not believe this data will support a longer duration claim,” spokesman Mark Marmur said in an email.
Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty