Botox Competitor Aims to Take Market Share as Allergan Stumbles

(Bloomberg) -- An upstart company with a competitor to Allergan Plc’s Botox has its eye on becoming the next wrinkle treatment of choice.

Evolus Inc. has already reached 2,000 doctors with a new app and plans to expand that to 3,000 before the launch of its medicine, Jeuveau, next week. The app includes a 90-day program to start physicians with free samples to encourage more use, Chief Executive Officer David Moatazedi said in an interview at the company’s analyst day in New York.

Shares of the Irvine, California-based company rose as much as 6.3 percent on Wednesday and have more than doubled year to date following U.S. regulatory approval in February. Allergan, meanwhile, is mired in debate about its long-term strategy even as Botox sales are handily beating analyst estimates. Allergan shares fell as much as 1.7 percent, extending a two-day slump.

Botox Competitor Aims to Take Market Share as Allergan Stumbles

Evolus -- which has been a public company for less than a year and a half -- plans take market share by what Moatazedi, a former Allergan executive, calls “speaking human,” or marketing itself purely as a beauty company and not a medical one. Botox is approved for a range of both aesthetic and therapeutic uses.

And unlike Allergan, Evolus will focus its efforts on women -- particularly younger women in their thirties who are most likely to be concerned about wrinkles. The company has already started a social media campaign with the hashtag #newtox. But that won’t keep men from using the drug -- Moatazedi said he plans to try Jeuveau for the first time once sales begin.

Following the analyst event, Cantor’s Louise Chen said in a research note that she’s “even more confident that Jeuveau will be transformational for physicians and their patients.”

Moatazedi is sanguine on potential competitors like Revance Therapeutics Inc. moving forward with a new wrinkle smoother that could reach the market next year. Neurotoxin medicines like Botox and Jeuveau often take longer than anticipated to be approved, he said.

A $100 million financing from March should be enough to get the company “out of the gate” with its launch, Moatazedi said. Having a controlling holder, Alphaeon Corp., makes the company particularly “dilution sensitive” and fends off any predatory takeover interest, he added. Alphaeon is expected to eventually wind down some of its stake, which was 56 percent as of April 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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