June 23, 2023
Nearly One Year Post-Launch Biogen & Coherus Biosciences’ Ranibizumab Biosimilars Have Yet to Make a Splash in Their Respective Retina Markets
Uptake and user-base of Byooviz (Biogen) and Cimerli (Coherus) have both been low while general attitudes around biosimilars seem to be cooling, according to a recent analysis from Spherix Global Insights.
EXTON, Pa., June 23, 2023 — Spherix has been tracking ophthalmologists’ attitudes and perceptions around biosimilars in their Special Topix: Ophthalmology Biosimilars Today and Tomorrow (US) series since Q4 2021 in anticipation of the launch of Byooviz and Cimerli last year. In the latest edition, published in June 2023, data reveals an increasing percentage of prescribers that report their position on biosimilars has become more negative in the last two years. While discussions and peer recommendations are noted as a core source of information on biosimilars, most respondents report that they have not received recommendations from colleagues to trial the newest ranibizumab agents.
Financial factors rise to the top of both attribute importance and drivers for use of biosimilars, according to ophthalmologists. Insurance coverage (more-so Medicare, but also commercial) beat out other attributes such as interchangeability designation and approved formulation (including the prefilled syringe) as critical for uptake. Despite the weight on these payer-related metrics, the perceived cost savings associated with biosimilar availability is weighted towards insurers and the overall health system and away from patients and ophthalmology practices.
The candidacy pool of potential Byooviz and Cimerli patients is thought to be substantial, yet most ophthalmologists surveyed have yet to prescribe either medication. Furthermore, a sizeable proportion suggest they never will trial the agents, citing a lack of comfort and familiarity, along with excessive costs and poor formulary status. Indeed, the proven track record and low-price tag associated with Genentech’s off-label Avastin has solidified its position as the first step-edit from most major insurers. Additionally, Genentech’s Lucentis (reference ranibizumab) has lost steam over recent years. While once the gold standard anti-VEGF treatment, higher efficacy biologics have prevailed, including Genentech’s own bispecific antibody, Vabysmo. Furthermore, the logistics of stocking the ranibizumab biosimilars in a buy-and-bill environment when it is highly likely another agent will be preferred, is not a winning formula for Byooviz or Cimerli.
This is the reality of biologic exclusivity. In many cases, by the time a molecule is legally allowed to be developed as a biosimilar, its reference product’s heyday has come and gone. Though as it appears now, this will likely not be the scenario at play in a few years’ time when Regeneron’s Eylea faces biosimilar competition. Eylea currently reigns king across anti-VEGF indicated conditions and Regeneron is prepared with a higher dose version of Eylea expecting an FDA decision any day. While the lower dose aflibercept biosimilars are expected to gain some share, high-dose Eylea is expected to gain even more. Both Byooviz and Cimerli are expected to play a small role, with Cimerli’s interchangeability designation and on-label DME indication providing a slight competitive edge over Byooviz’s first-to-market status.
Spherix will run the next wave of Special Topix: Ophthalmology Biosimilars Today and tomorrow (US) in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Special Topix™ is an independent service that includes access to a report or series of reports based on current events or topics of interest in specialty markets covered by Spherix.
About Spherix Global Insights
Spherix Global Insights is a leading provider of market research, business intelligence and advisory services to the global life sciences industry. The company’s unique service offerings are powered by deep therapeutic knowledge, the Spherix Network specialty physician panel, and commercially relevant analyses to enable strategic decision-making by our valued customers.
A trusted advisor and industry thought leader, Spherix Global Insights provides specialized market expertise in six (6) focused therapeutic areas including: dermatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, rheumatology and ophthalmology.
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Spherix Global Insights Contacts
Chrystal Ferguson, Senior Insights Director, Ophthalmology
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