This pharma company hasn't licensed a single drug in 15 years 

Horizon Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on treatments for rare diseases, has a unique success story, considering the company hasn't licensed a single drug product since its founding in 2008, KFF Health News reported April 13.

Though Horizon now has 20 drugs in development, the company first built its empire by acquiring drugs invented and tested by other companies. The drugmaker places a strong focus on product marketing, with nearly half of its payments to physicians in 2021 covering things like consulting, speeches and meals. Horizon has stood by its marketing practices, saying they are "necessarily unique" because of the challenges associated with treating rare diseases, company spokesperson Catherine Riedel told KFF Health News.

Horizon also prioritizes strong patient relationships and ensures that insurance companies — not patients — bear the most burden for the company's pricey rare disease drugs. 

Brigid Freyne, MD, a California-based physician who specializes in rheumatology, says Horizon gives more attention to her patients than any other infusion drug manufacturer.

"Horizon has a nurse talk to each and every patient before every appointment," she told KFF Health News. "The patients who come in here are highly motivated to get their IV. They get the message that it's very important, and they are fortunate to get the medicine."

Overall, the strategies are paying off. Horizon's net sales increased from $20 million in 2012 to $981 million in 2016. In 2022, the drugmaker saw $3.6 billion in net sales, a 12 percent increase from the year prior. In December, Amgen also shared plans to buy Horizon for $27.8 billion, the largest pharmaceutical deal announced last year. 

Read the full article here.

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