Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK), Allergan, Inc. (AGN): Three Companies Working to Make Your Migraines Milder

Do migraines make your life miserable? If so, you’re not alone.

The National Headache Foundation (yes, there is such an organization) says that around 30 million Americans suffer from migraines. Researchers found that $11 billion is spent annually on medical expenses related to migraines.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

There’s hope for some good news, though. Several companies are hard at work developing drugs that could make your migraines milder. Here are three with development under way for new migraine treatments.

1. Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN)
Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) is best known as the maker of Botox. While the drug gained prominence for smoothing out wrinkles, another benefit was found along the way. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved use of Botox as a treatment for migraines in 2010, but the drug can be prescribed only for patients with the most acute severe headaches.

Botox isn’t Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN)’s only effort in helping migraine sufferers, though. The company acquired Levadex when it bought Map Pharmaceuticals earlier this year. However, the FDA gave a thumbs-down to Levadex in April due to manufacturing issues. Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) expects to submit data needed by the FDA by the end of this year and hopes to obtain approval for the drug in the second quarter of 2014.

Levadex is an orally inhaled formulation of dihydroergotamine, or DHE. While DHE is already available as a nasal spray and in intravenous form, Allergan, Inc. (NYSE:AGN) thinks that Levadex will act faster, last longer, and have fewer side effects than many currently available products.

2. Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY)

Large drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) licensed its experimental migraine drug LY2951742 to tiny partner Arteaus Therapeutics in 2011. The two companies are working together to develop the drug, which is now in a mid-stage clinical trial.

Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) and Arteaus don’t only want to decrease the pain from migraines with LY2951742. They hope to also prevent migraines from occurring. LY2951742 is an antibody that neutralizes a brain protein known as calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP. CGRP dilates blood vessels and causes inflammation in the brain, which can lead to migraine headaches.

The latest information available estimates the the mid-stage clinical study for LY2951742 will wrap up in October. Assuming all goes well, the drug would then progress into a phase 3 study. If that study is also successful, the earliest time frame for availability to patients would likely be 2015.