BioTrends Research Group, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that surveyed U.S. neurologists report significantly greater overall physician satisfaction with Biogen Idec’s recently-launched oral disease-modifying therapy (DMT) Tecfidera than with most other DMTs approved for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). These other agents include platform injectables such as interferon-beta therapies and Teva’s Copaxone, as well as other oral DMTs—Aubagio from Genzyme (a Sanofi company) and Novartis’s Gilenya. This finding likely reflects respondents’ high rating of Tecfidera on several key performance attributes in the areas of efficacy and patient benefits compared with other approved agents. Nevertheless, Copaxone—the current patient share leader among respondents’ DMT-treated MS patients—still ranks as respondents’ most preferred brand for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS), a perception driven by the drug’s long-term safety and tolerability/side effect profile.
The recently published TreatmentTrends: Multiple Sclerosis Q3 2013 (US) report also finds that, if only two late-stage emerging products were to launch for the treatment of MS (out of six products assessed), more than 45 percent of surveyed neurologists select Teva’s Copaxone 40 mg three-times-weekly (3TW) and Genzyme/Bayer HealthCare’s Lemtrada as bringing the most value to treatment; slightly fewer also chose Teva/Active Biotech’s laquinimod. Data show that neurologists’ self-reported familiarity with the product and its predecessor drives the perceived value of Copaxone 40 mg 3TW, while efficacy and administration, respectively, are the most frequently-cited reasons for respondents’ perceived value of Lemtrada and laquinimod.
The findings also reveal that surveyed neurologists expect total patient share for oral DMTs—Aubagio, Gilenya, and Tecfidera—to increase significantly among DMT-treated RR-MS patients over the next six months, mainly at the expense of the interferon-beta brands and Copaxone. During this time, neurologists expect the overall patient share for oral DMTs to more than double from 14 percent to 30 percent overall, with most of this growth coming from anticipated use of Tecfidera. Use of Biogen Idec’s Tysabri, which ranks highest on multiple efficacy and other key performance attributes, is also expected to increase significantly.
“With the advent of oral DMTs and new DMT alternatives on the horizon for the treatment of MS, surveyed neurologists indicate further change in clinical practice is coming,” said Senior Director of CNS Disorders Jonathan W. Searles. “As part of this change, our findings signal neurologists’ continued reliance on products demonstrating strong safety, but also a growing acceptance of agents that offer robust efficacy at potentially greater risk, if such risks are defined, manageable, and clinically justified.”