Spherix Global Insights

July 14, 2021

Initial Launch Execution Fails to Impress for Biogen’s Aduhelm – the First-to-Market Disease-Modifying Therapy for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease – as the Controversy Churn Continues

One month post launch, Spherix data indicates that Aduhelm (aducanumab-avwa) awareness easily outpaces other key performance indicators, including degree of advance, anticipated patient candidacy, prescriber uptake, and launch execution among US neurologists

EXTON, Pa., July 14, 2021/PRNewswire/ — As expected with the recent media maelstrom surrounding its June 7th approval, unaided and aided awareness of Biogen’s Aduhelm, the first disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, is almost ubiquitous among US neurologists. However, with the first patients not being dosed until mid-June, few neurologists report having personal experience prescribing the monthly infusion monoclonal antibody (mAb) to their patients.

Spherix initiated their Launch Dynamix™: Aduhelm (Biogen) in Alzheimer’s Disease (US) service immediately upon approval to provide clients with an ongoing, real-time assessment of the brand’s launch and to capture vital benchmarking for potential future launches. Within the next year or two, Eli Lilly’s donanemab, a monthly infusion mAb (recently granted breakthrough designation), and Genentech’s gantenerumab, a monthly subcutaneous mAb, could be approved as the second and third DMT to market, respectively.

Launch Dynamix™ is an independent service that provides 18 months of new launch tracking delivered through both monthly key performance indictors (KPI) deliverables and quarterly comprehensive reports – pulling from a mix of both quantitative and qualitative data. The first monthly pulse survey, fielded between June 30th and July 6th, shows that Aduhelm, even as the first-to-market DMT, is perceived by only a relatively small subset of neurologists as a substantial advance for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Surveyed neurologists anticipate that only one in seven Alzheimer’s patients are considered candidates for Aduhelm. However, Biogen’s request for a label revision recommending use only in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia stage of Alzheimer’s disease was approved by the FDA just days after survey fielding – an event which could further lower the patient candidacy estimate in the upcoming August fielding.

Regardless of pent up patient demand, expansion of the Aduhelm prescriber base will likely be slower than typically seen with other launches in the neurology market – as less than half of neurologists believe they will become adopters within the first six months of availability. In the first comprehensive quarterly survey (fielding the first week of September), Spherix will dig further into the relatively large “will never prescribe” subset. This assessment aims to clarify whether these neurologists would still consider prescribing Eli Lilly’s and/or Genentech’s future amyloid-beta plaque-removing mAb agent or if their reluctance represents a broad class effect.

Biogen, considered a powerhouse in the multiple sclerosis market, has not yet fueled comparable loyalty in the Alzheimer’s market. Just over one-third of neurologists report having received an Aduhelm detail within the past month. Yet, few neurologists would say that Biogen has done an excellent job in their execution of the Aduhelm launch – a perception likely influenced as much by the controversy associated with the regulatory review and approval as by the targeted initial roll out to infusion-ready treatment centers – and brand familiarity remains moderate at best for most neurologists. As Biogen’s Aduhelm educational and promotional efforts expand, movement on these KPIs may improve over time.

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

Spherix is currently tracking other ongoing launches in the neurology market, including Bristol Myers Squibb’s Zeposia in relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS), Novartis’ Kesimpta in RMS, Janssen’s Ponvory in RMS, and Biohaven’s Nurtec ODT label expansion for migraine prevention.

Future Launch Dynamix™ report series will cover potential launches of AbbVie’s (formerly Allergan, a AbbVie company) atogepant in migraine prevention, Impel’s Trudhesa in acute migraine, TG Therapeutics’ ublituximab in RMS, Eli Lilly’s donanemab in Alzheimer’s disease, and Genentech’s gantenerumab in Alzheimer’s disease.

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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, and rheumatology markets.

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