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Gastroenterologists Report Challenges Treating Eosinophilic Esophagitis as New Therapies Inch Closer to FDA Approval

A high percentage of undiagnosed patients and difficulties with treatment adherence among this mostly younger male patient population could be addressed by the entrance of one or more FDA-approved therapies in the next year

 EXTON, Pa., November 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Spherix recently surveyed 101 US gastroenterologists and followed up with ten qualitative interviews (including four with industry key opinion leaders) in order to assess the current and future treatment paradigm of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). This second wave of research included in Spherix’s Market Dynamix™ service highlights trended metrics on patient management while also delving deeper into the opportunity for agents in development for the indication.

Between this year and last, it is apparent that there are two key obstacles gastroenterologists face when treating EoE. First, gastroenterologists estimate that nearly one-half of EoE patients are not yet diagnosed, meaning there are many potential patients experiencing symptoms who have not taken the step to see a physician. Survey respondents also identified that increasing general awareness of EoE and its symptoms would help improve the diagnosis rate.

The second obstacle is patient adherence to EoE treatment. When asked to identify their challenges in treating the disease, 44% of gastroenterologists volunteered poor patient adherence as the response.

In the qualitative interviews, physicians elaborated that EoE is a chronic condition, however, it can manifest episodically where patients are successfully treated for a time and then do not return for follow-up evaluations. Gastroenterologists estimate that up to one in five EoE patients may fall into this “lapse then return” category. Some respondents speculate that the typically younger, male patient profile of EoE patients also contributed to the reluctance to pursue chronic treatment.

The report also confirmed that EoE patients are most likely to be treated with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and steroid formulations (inhaled, slurry) if the PPI treatment should fail. In addition, 42% of gastroenterologists state that there is a high unmet need for new treatment options in EoE, while the remainder believe there is at least a moderate unmet need.

Gastroenterologists are fairly aware of a number of the pipeline agents in development, and the majority anticipate up to two therapies being approved for EoE one year from now. Several pipeline therapies were evaluated by respondents:

  • APT-1011 (Adare Pharmaceuticals)
  • TAK-721 (Takeda)
  • Dupilumab (Sanofi/Regeneron)
  • Benralizumab (AstraZeneca)
  • Lirentelimab (Allakos)
  • Cendakimab (BMS)

Advantages and limitations of each pipeline profile, along with an evaluation of likelihood to prescribe and ranking of preferred therapies, are assessed in the Market Dynamix™ report.

Given their prior exposure to utilizing steroid formulations (via specialty pharmacy) to currently treat EoE patients, gastroenterologists are more aware of and more favorable toward these treatment options. Specifically, combining the two steroid formulations (APT-1011, TAK-721) and combining the four biologic formulations (dupilumab, benralizumab, liretelimab, cendakimab), resulted in the former having higher levels of familiarity and more likely to be ranked number one as most preferred pipeline therapy.

 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.

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