ThromboGenics NV (THR), the maker of the Jetrea eye drug, hired Morgan Stanley (MS:US) to explore strategic options after a disappointing introduction of the treatment in the U.S.
Almost 7,000 patients have been treated with Jetrea in the U.S. since the drug reached the market in January 2013, and sales have been less than the company expected, Heverlee, Belgium-based ThromboGenics said in a statement today. ThromboGenics shares have plunged 60 percent from the record set Jan. 9, 2013, giving the company a market value of 677.1 million euros ($930.3 million).
“The board has made this decision to explore alternative options for the company to increase its ability to realize the significant commercial potential of Jetrea in the U.S. market,” Chief Executive Officer Patrik De Haes said in the statement. “We are starting the strategic exercise with an open mind. We will update the market in due course.”
Jetrea is an injection for vitreomacular adhesion, a vision-destroying condition previously treated with surgery. The drug may be appealing to large pharmaceutical companies with ophthalmology divisions, KBC Securities NV said last year. Novartis AG (NOVN) has the rights to market Jetrea outside the U.S.
ThromboGenics fell 0.5 percent to close at 18.76 euros Feb. 21 in Brussels.
Analysts predict Jetrea sales of 133 million euros next year, the average of three estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That’s down from an estimate of 221 million euros a year ago.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Serafino in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org