Spherix Global Insights

October 26, 2022

European Lupus Market Coverage Highlights Pipeline Perceptions and Country Differences in Patient Management, Spherix Reports

Expanded systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) research in Europe reveals UK physicians perceive a higher unmet need and difficulty in treating SLE patients compared to other EU markets, though prescribe approved advanced therapy options less often

EXTON, Pa., October 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Rheumatologists have long struggled to effectively treat patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) given the wide heterogeneity of the disease and few effective treatment options. However, after nearly a decade of stagnant innovation for the treatment of SLE and lupus nephritis (LN), physicians now have three recently approved agents in their treatment armamentarium: GlaxoSmithKline’s Benlysta (belimumab) in SLE and now LN, AstraZeneca’s Saphnelo (anifrolumab) in SLE, and Aurinia’s Lupkynis (voclosporin) in LN.

Spherix Global Insights has been a leader in tracking the SLE and LN markets for several years, covering physician perspectives, treatment patterns, and pipeline assessments. This coverage includes in-depth interviews with key opinion leaders (KOLs) and “in-the-trenches” physicians, along with large-scale attitudinal surveys and chart audits of more than 1000 patients.

Today, Spherix announces expanded lupus coverage in Europe – capturing EU5 physicians’ perspective on this quickly evolving market and their impressions of the robust SLE pipeline in their Market Dynamix™: SLE (EU) service in addition to patient audit data from over 1,200 EU5 patients in their RealWorld Dynamix™ service, uncovering differences in physician perceptions and real-world treatment patterns and outcomes among moderate to severely active patients in the EU5 (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and UK).

One of the key insights from the just-released Market Dynamix™ research is that compared to the rest of the EU5, UK rheumatologists report a higher unmet need for new pharmacologic options for SLE, with a greater proportion of respondents stating that SLE patients are extremely challenging to manage. A review of Spherix’s recent RealWorld Dynamix™ patient chart audit data also shows UK physicians reporting higher rates of flares and a lower physician global assessment (PGA) score in their patients, highlighting a potential gap in care. While UK physicians report prescribing foundational therapies like hydroxychloroquine in a higher percentage of SLE patients compared to their EU5 counterparts, they prescribe advanced therapies like Saphnelo (anifrolumab) and Benylsta (belimumab) less frequently – often due to governmental restrictions from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Participating UK rheumatologists elaborated:

  • “Not enough data [on Saphnelo] to show who will respond best and how to assess response in practice rather than a clinical trial where time is limited. Not NICE approved as cost-effective.” – UK
  • “Patient does not fulfill NICE eligibility criteria [for Benlysta].” – UK
  • “[Saphnelo is] expensive and not NICE approved.” – UK

Beyond understanding evolving treatment patterns and challenges, a large section of the Market Dynamix™ research evaluates expectations for products in development. Perhaps not surprising, rheumatologists feel efficacy-related attributes and a low incidence of adverse events are the most important features for pipeline agents to exhibit, in addition to “quality of life” (QOL) measures. Physicians expanded upon this idea in the qualitative portion of the research:

  • “A pipeline agent should be effective for the global control of the disease, including severe visceral manifestations (e.g., nephrological and neurological), with a good safety profile including pregnancy and breastfeeding.” – Spain
  • “An effective, steroid-sparing agent that is well tolerated.” – UK

A host of SLE pipeline drugs are evaluated across this research suite for familiarity, level of interest, and potential patient candidacy with deeper dives into later-stage agents like Gazyva (obinutuzumab, Roche), dapirolizumab pegol (UCB and Biogen), deucravacitinib (Bristol Myers Squibb), brepocitinib (Pfizer), and Litifilimab (BIIB059, Biogen).

EU5 physicians have the greatest familiarity with Roche’s Gazyva (obinutuzumab) as a pipeline agent in lupus, yet they have the most interest in having Pfizer’s brepocitinib available for SLE due to their understanding and use of the JAK inhibitor class in other rheumatic conditions. Over four-in-ten respondents in the EU5 consider brepocitinib to be an advance in the treatment of moderate to severe SLE and the same number are very interested in the agent. 20% of moderate to severe SLE patients would be considered candidates for brepocitinib, and four-in-ten physicians say they would prescribe it within three months of approval. EU5 rheumatologists shared their thoughts on why they chose brepocitinib as the agent that would provide the most value if approved:

  • “I’m familiar with JAKs from rheumatoid arthritis and Pfizer gives me security.” – Italy
  • “The efficacy of JAK inhibition.” – UK
  • “Highly potent MOA.” – Germany

Additional country differences in pipeline agent preference and the “whys” behind those perceptions are highlighted in the published research. Insights from the report also reveal which clinical trial endpoints physicians find most important in their clinical practice.

As the leading independent provider of SLE and LN data and insights, Spherix is uniquely positioned to work with companies as they approach this quickly evolving market. Market-trending and future-looking reports, coupled with patient chart audits and launch trackers, enable subscribed clients to intelligently strategize as they strive towards optimal patient care and maximal market share.

 About Market Dynamix™
Market Dynamix™ is an independent, subscription-based service that explores future dynamics of evolving healthcare markets within specific indications to help your company make well-informed, strategic decisions. The Spherix research method pairs together both qualitative analyses, fueled by interviews with leading international opinion leaders, and quantitative analysis, leveraging a proprietary network of specialists “in the trenches.”

About RealWorld Dynamix™
RealWorld Dynamix™ is an independent, data-driven service unveiling real patient management patterns through rigorous analysis of large-scale patient chart audits. Insights reveal the “why” behind treatment decisions, include year over year trending to quantify key aspects of market evolution, and integrate specialists’ attitudinal & demographic data to highlight differences between stated and actual treatment patterns.

Learn more about our services here.

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.

All company, brand or product names in this document are trademarks of their respective holders.