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Approximately One Year Post-Launch, AbbVie’s Rinvoq Boasts Increasingly Favorable Perceptions Among Gastroenterologists for the Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis, According to Spherix Global Insights

Recent research suggests AbbVie has managed gastroenterologists’ concerns regarding JAK safety, setting up a potentially favorable encore in the Crohn’s disease market.

EXTON, Pa., May 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In March of 2022, the FDA approved AbbVie’s JAK1 inhibitor, Rinvoq (upadacitinib), for the treatment of moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC).

Of note, however, JAK inhibitors as a broader class have a legacy of safety concerns, stemming from more tenured treatments such as Pfizer’s Xeljanz (tofacitinib), that have led to class-wide black box warnings. Market watchers have raised the question of how AbbVie would separate the negative baggage associated with JAK inhibitors from the JAK1 variant, addressing physicians’ concerns and carving out a space for Rinvoq. Spherix’s assessment of prescribers’ use and perceptions of the brand over its first year on the market suggest AbbVie has been generally effective in this feat.

Rinvoq has been successful at garnering incremental patient share since launch, but perhaps more impressive is the impact it has made on gastroenterologists’ perceptions regarding inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). According to Spherix’s most recent RealTime Dynamix: Ulcerative Colitis (US) Q2 update, the majority of gastroenterologists are highly satisfied with the brand. In fact, when pinned head-to-head against other leading UC brands on key agent attributes, Rinvoq has also made strong perceptual gains. Specifically, when compared to the current UC gold standard, Takeda’s Entyvio (vedolizumab), Rinvoq is noted by gastroenterologists as the superior agent across several key efficacy attributes. Despite Rinvoq being viewed in such a positive light, physicians are restricted by the label limiting prescribing until a patient has been treated with at least one prior biologic agent. Indeed, two-thirds of gastroenterologists agree that they are restricted from using JAK inhibitors earlier in the UC treatment algorithm than they would like.

Looking forward over the next year, substantial transformation of the UC space is anticipated with the influx of adalimumab biosimilar therapies, coupled with the potential approvals of Pfizer’s etrasimod, Celltrion’s subcutaneous (SC) infliximab, Takeda’s Entyvio SC, and Eli Lilly’s mirikizumab. Insights collected just prior to the Complete Response Letter (CRL) received by Eli Lilly indicate that mirikizumab’s potential launch would follow a similar trajectory as AbbVie’s Skyrizi (risankizumab), the closest IL-23 class competitor, has had on the Crohn’s disease (CD) market, leading to a continuing shift away from TNF inhibitors; however, the delay in approval may result in a launch to a more saturated market than initially anticipated.  Rounding out, gastroenterologists have eagerly anticipated the arrival of Entyvio SC for years, and they express high expectations for etrasimod to outperform BMS’ Zeposia (ozanimod) in terms of prescribing.

Regarding the CD market, Rinvoq was submitted to the FDA for review in July 2022 and excitement for its approval has been growing, as shown in Spherix’s RealTime Dynamix: Crohn’s Disease (US) Q2 update. Gastroenterologists indicate an ample CD candidacy pool for Rinvoq despite its safety precautions, and uptake of the JAK1 inhibitor is expected to be swift, especially with familiarity of the brand already present. An approval in this space would put it in competition with AbbVie’s other recently launched agent, Skyrizi; however, for now, Spherix data shows Skyrizi is predicted to be unaffected by this possible sister-brand competition.

Spherix will continue to track the overall UC and CD markets and pulse gastroenterologists on their perceptions and intentions to use advanced therapies in their RealTime Dynamix services.

About RealTime Dynamix™

RealTime Dynamix™ is an independent service providing strategic guidance through quarterly or semiannual reports, which include market trending and a fresh infusion of event-driven and variable content with each wave. The reports provide an unbiased view of the competitive landscape within rapidly evolving specialty markets, fueled by robust HCP primary research and our in-house team of experts.

About Spherix Global Insights

Spherix Global Insights is a leading provider of market research, business intelligence and advisory services to the global life sciences industry. The company’s unique service offerings are powered by deep therapeutic knowledge, the Spherix Network specialty physician panel, and commercially relevant analyses to enable strategic decision-making by our valued customers.

A trusted advisor and industry thought leader, Spherix Global Insights provides specialized market expertise in six (6) focused therapeutic areas including: dermatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, rheumatology and ophthalmology.

To learn more about Spherix Global Insights, visit or connect through LinkedIn and Twitter.

For more details on Spherix’s primary market research reports and interactive dashboard offerings, visit or register here:

Spherix Global Insights Contacts

Geoff Red, Franchise Leader, Gastroenterology

Scott Upham, Corporate Communications

NOTICE: All company, brand or product names in this press release are trademarks of their respective holders. The findings and opinions expressed within are based on Spherix Global Insight’s analysis and do not imply a relationship with or endorsement by any company, brand, or product aforementioned.

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