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Relypsa Sales Numbers Surprise to Upside

Relypsa Sales Numbers Surprise to Upside

Relypsa Inc. (NASDAQ:RLYP) reports sales numbers for its hyperkalemia drug, Veltassa on the fifteenth of every month . Last time around the numbers were a disappointment and signaled that the hyperkalemia market was going to be more difficult than many had expected to turn into a real revenue generator. But, data was just released today, and the results were a surprise.

Last month Relypsa actually saw the number of New patients who started taking Veltassa with a free start supply decrease by 4%. That was so stunning because the drug has only been out to market for a few months, and a slowdown so early in the process was anywhere from worrisome to devastating. But, as the market waited with baited breathe today, the results were quite good.

We can see a huge turnaround in that top line number which went from a decrease of nearly 5% to now a gain of 14%. Perhaps most importantly, the number of actual prescriptions filled actually accelerated to a 33% rise, from 31% last month. When it comes down to it, it's that number that is actual sales and may in fact be the most important.

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In a rarity for the company, news is potentially getting even better. Relypsa saw its only competitor, ZS Pharma, now formally owned by AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN), receive a complete response letter (CRL) from the FDA. That's a fancy way of saying that ZS-9 was rejected by the FDA due to manufacturing concerns. While the FDA did not comment on clinical data, there is already a growing concern for ZS-9 that the drug elevates sodium in the blood which, if true, would essentially eliminate it from the lucrative chronic market.

But the good news gets even better for Relypsa. The company stated that some physicians were hesitating to prescribe Veltassa until the ZS-9 FDA ruling came in. With the rejection pushing a ZS-9 approval at least a year out, those reluctant physicians may have turned to Relypsa as the only option. But, those potentially increased sales numbers are not included in the May prescription sales data. So, that pop for Relypsa’ s Veltassa in May is potentially facing another up trend in June and beyond.

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Thanks for reading, friends. The author is long call options in Relypsa.

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