Spherix Global Insights

September 16, 2020

Following a Delayed Launch, Bristol Myers Squibb’s Zeposia has Begun to Successfully Establish Itself as a Low-Burden Option Within the S1P Receptor Modulator Class, According to Spherix Global Insights

Spherix’s new launch tracking service will further monitor details of Zeposia’s uptake over 18 months and benchmark key metrics against historical launches, including Genentech’s Ocrevus and Novartis’ Mayzent

 EXTON, Pa., September 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With expanded use of new oral disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) in the multiple sclerosis (MS) market, oral DMT class share has increased slightly over the past year, according to the most recent report included in Spherix’s RealTime Dynamix™: Multiple Sclerosis (US) service. The report, which collected the responses of 99 neurologists in the United States surveyed between July 17th and August 4th, finds that Novartis’ Mayzent and Biogen’s Vumerity have experienced modest share growth over the past quarter while uptake of recently launched Bristol Myers Squibb’s Zeposia has just begun.

As the third-to-market S1P receptor modulator, Zeposia shows early signs of promise in MS. While COVID-19 initially delayed Zeposia’s launch, the DMT is now on the market and has amassed a prescriber base of approximately 20% of surveyed physicians within the first two months of availability. Neurologists project Zeposia share to rival that of Mayzent within the next six months. Already, more physicians prefer Zeposia than Mayzent among the oral DMTs, although Novartis’ Gilenya is still the most preferred S1P receptor modulator DMT. Many neurologists are optimistic about the Zeposia onboarding process – two in five believe that the lack of first-dose observation requirement will increase their willingness to prescribe, and more than one-third anticipate that Zeposia onboarding will be easier than that for Gilenya or Mayzent.

However, these high-efficacy oral DMTs are not immune to impacts related to COVID-19. Half of surveyed physicians specified changes in the way they manage their MS patients due to the pandemic, including a temporary reversion to more conservative practices and a preference for DMTs with the strongest safety profiles. Among the sizeable minority of neurologists who have decreased their use of Gilenya or Mayzent over the past three months, 57% and 73%, respectively, indicate that COVID-19 had a high influence on the reductions in use.

Furthermore, the coronavirus outbreak has hindered Zeposia uptake by limiting the frequency of detailing visits from sales representatives. Nearly three-quarters of surveyed neurologists have never had contact with a Zeposia sales representative, and even fewer neurologists have received an in-person detail. Highlighting the power that personal interaction (whether in person or virtual) can have on new brand uptake, more than half of neurologists detailed on Zeposia with in the past month are current prescribers versus only 7% of those not recently detailed.

Neurologists are most willing to use Zeposia in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), active secondary progressive MS (SPMS), or transitioning patients, consistent with Bristol Myers Squibb’s positioning efforts and current patterns of use. However, the brand must contend with substantial competition within the relapsing MS space, both from other high-efficacy oral DMTs (including S1P receptor modulators) and especially from Ocrevus. While many neurologists believe that oral Zeposia outperforms intravenous Ocrevus on administration, a large proportion also believe that the former is at a disadvantage to the latter on efficacy in relapsing forms of MS and metrics related to market tenure (such as known safety profile, clinical data support, and overall familiarity/comfort).

Despite the mechanistic similarities between Zeposia and Mayzent, use patterns for Zeposia are already quite distinct: Zeposia derives a much higher percentage of use from RRMS, while Mayzent, as a result of Novartis’ positioning efforts related to the DMT’s novel EXPAND trial design, is more frequently prescribed to active SPMS patients. Mayzent is a common alternative treatment to Zeposia, although neurologists expect Gilenya to suffer more from Zeposia’s share growth. Indeed, beyond issues related to time on market, use of an alternative S1P receptor modulator is currently among the most commonly cited barriers to Zeposia use, especially among non-users; should this attitude remain consistent over the next year, Zeposia uptake could suffer.

In order to more deeply assess the progression of Zeposia’s launch, a new service starting in Q4 2020, Launch Dynamix™: Zeposia in Multiple Sclerosis (US), will further delve into awareness, trial, and use patterns as well as neurologist perceptions related to the agent’s value within the competitive MS space. Furthermore, the service will benchmark Zeposia launch metrics to other recent launches in MS, including Ocrevus, EMD Serono’s Mavenclad, and Mayzent. In addition to Zeposia, Spherix will track other upcoming branded launches in MS, including Biogen’s Vumerity, Novartis’ Kesimpta (beginning in Q4 2020), and, if approved in Q1 2020, Janssen’s ponesimod.

In parallel, future waves of the RealTime Dynamix™: Multiple Sclerosis (US) service will continue to provide a comprehensive view of the impact of recent launches, market events, and pipeline developments on the evolution of the MS market. Looking even further ahead, Spherix recently added three emerging Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors, EMD Serono’s evobrutinib, Sanofi/Principia Biopharma’s tolebrutinib (SAR442168), and Genentech’s fenebrutinib (RG7845), to their pipeline assessments in the RealTime Dynamix™ service.

As with the ongoing battle between the S1P receptor modulators, unique individual characteristics of these BTK inhibitors (coupled with careful positioning efforts) will determine neurologist preference and overall success within the MS market.

About RealTime Dynamix™
RealTime Dynamix™: Multiple Sclerosis (US) is an independent service providing strategic guidance through rapid and comprehensive quarterly reports, which include market trending and a fresh infusion of event-driven and variable content with each wave. The next quarterly report publishes in December.

Parallel services, RealTime Dynamix™: Multiple Sclerosis (EU) and RealTime Dynamix™: Multiple Sclerosis (Canada) track the evolution of multiple sclerosis market in Europe and Canada on a semiannual basis.

About Launch Dynamix™  
Launch Dynamix™ is an independent, subscription-based service that provides quarterly trending of relevant launch metrics for new products and benchmarking to other recently launched products.

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 immunology, nephrology, and neurology markets.

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