Testim manufacturer Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Malvern, Pennsylvania, has entered a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline to drive up sales of the testosterone drug, the companies announced this week.
Testim is a topical gel containing one percent testosterone, prescribed as a hormone-replacement therapy for men with clinically low testosterone levels and the physical slow-down that generally accompanies “low T,” as the condition is sometimes called. Testim and other testosterone replacement therapies are also sought after by men who take the drug for recreational purposes.
The effects of excessive testosterone in men are virtually the same as taking steroids, with increased muscle mass and strength, higher energy levels, and a greater sex drive being some of the perceived benefits. Whether they’re used for recreation or medically legitimate reasons, testosterone-replacement drugs are surging in popularity.
Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, however, is a relatively small company with a hot product. Until now, it has relied on its force of 150 sales representatives to push Testim, and those reps have done remarkably well considering their scarcity, generating some $205 million in U.S. sales last year and $58 million in just the first 2012. But Testim has fierce competition.
Androgel 1% and Androgel 1.62%, made by pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories, enjoys the lion’s share of the testosterone-replacement-therapy market, bringing in $874 million in 2011 and $232 million in 2012’s first quarter.
Enter GlaxoSmithKline, a multinational pharmaceutical giant based in London, England, with a global sales and marketing force of more than 40,000. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Adrian Adams, Auxilium’s chief executive officer and president, said he “hopes Glaxo’s larger sales force will increase sales in a competitive environment and help Auxilium become profitable.”
“We look forward to our collaboration with Auxilium and adding Testim to our portfolio so we can help meet the needs of men with this condition,” Cheryl MacDiarmid, vice president of Glaxo’s cardiovascular/metabolic/urology business unit, said in a statement. Glaxo will receive a percentage of net Testim sales over a baseline the companies agreed upon.
With sales of testosterone replacement drugs poised to soar in the coming years, the number of injuries linked to the drug could also rise, and not just for the men who take the drug. Testim and Androgel pose a significant risk of secondary exposure because they are topical gels that are applied to the skin, usually to the upper arm or shoulder. Women and children exposed to the drug through contact with the user or his clothing may develop inappropriate hair growth, acne, and enlarged genitals.