Spherix Global Insights

November 17, 2022

Eli Lilly’s Olumiant is Filling a Critical Gap for Severe Alopecia Areata Patients, According to Spherix Global Insights

Despite highly favorable perceptions of the first approved treatment, dermatologists’ desire increased support from Eli Lilly sales representatives 

EXTON, Pa., November 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On June 13, 2022, Eli Lilly announced the FDA approval of Olumiant for severe alopecia areata (AA), making it the first systemic therapy available in the US to treat the disease. In July 2022, Spherix began tracking the launch of Olumiant as part of the Launch Dynamix™ series, in which approximately 75 US dermatologists provide perspectives on their use and perceptions of Olumiant in AA on a monthly basis.

According to the latest research, the majority of dermatologists are aware of Olumiant’s approval and believe it is a substantial advance compared to other treatment options used in AA. As such, the Olumiant user base has experienced consistent month-over-month growth, and nearly 60% of dermatologists have experience with the drug after only five months on the market.

Despite this growth, the number of patients actually prescribed Olumiant suggests dermatologists are very much still in trial mode. Not dissimilar to what has been observed with JAK inhibitor uptake in atopic dermatitis (AD) – while the breadth of use has grown, the depth of use has remained consistent for several months.

Dermatologists are often prescribing Olumiant to patients with severe disease, or 50-99% scalp hair loss, and often after multiple alternative treatment attempts. Prescribers are initiating patients for a variety of reasons, including a lack of alternative options and the possibility of rapid and sustained hair regrowth. Though dosing is not a top driver to use, both users and non-users intend on prescribing the 2mg first, then titrating up as needed for better control.

Unsurprisingly, concerns about Olumiant’s safety and black box warning are the primary barriers to use. However, dermatologists have become increasingly familiar and comfortable with the JAK class via their utilization in AD. Certainly, the 2022 approvals of AbbVie’s Rinvoq and Pfizer’s Cibinqo in AD have paved the way for the JAK inhibitors in dermatology, as dermatologists are increasingly comfortable discussing the safety concerns with patients.

While Eli Lilly sales representative contact rates are on par with analog dermatology launches, respondents report that recent details were disproportionally focused on Taltz in plaque psoriasis and are eager for more information specifically on Olumiant in AA.

One dermatologist specifically recounted their most recent interaction, “I asked a couple of questions and all [the Lilly sales representative] wanted to talk about, for whatever reason, was Taltz, so I have no idea. They didn’t say a whole lot. Nothing valuable, just that [Olumiant] was approved. They’re still getting a brochure together.” Despite the vocalized desire amongst sampled dermatologists for increased education from the manufacturer, Olumiant is clearly filling a once-felt void of treatment.

Prior to Olumiant’s approval, nearly all dermatologists reported a high unmet need for new treatment options for severe AA, noting patients and physicians alike were not satisfied with treatment outcomes. In Spherix research conducted in 2021, JAK inhibitors were top of mind, and Olumiant was the most preferred pipeline product to gain FDA approval.

Spherix will continue to track ongoing perceptions of the AA pipeline and the evolution of unmet needs now that Olumiant is on the market – including trended perceptions of Pfizer’s ritlecitinib and etrasimod, Reistone Biopharma’s SHR0302, Concert’s deuruxolitinib, and Equillium’s EQ101, as well as reactions to Horizon’s daxdilimab and AnaptysBio’s rosnilimab.

 About Launch Dynamix™
Launch Dynamix™ is an independent service providing monthly benchmarking of newly launched products for the first eighteen months of commercial availability, augmented by a quarterly deep dive into promotional activity, barriers to uptake, and patient types gravitating to the launch brand.

 About Market Dynamix™
Market Dynamix™ is an independent service providing analysis of markets anticipated to experience a paradigm shift within the next three to five years. Insights highlight market size, current treatment approaches, unmet needs, and expert opinions on the likely disruption introduced by pipeline agents.

 About Spherix Global Insights
Spherix Global Insights is a hyper-focused market intelligence firm that leverages our own independent data and expertise to provide strategic guidance, so biopharma stakeholders make decisions with confidence. We specialize in select dermatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, ophthalmology, and rheumatology markets.

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

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