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Pfizer’s Litfulo Poised to Follow Similar Trajectory as Eli Lilly/Incyte’s Olumiant for the Treatment of Severe Alopecia Areata

After early adoption, overall use of Olumiant in alopecia areata is beginning to level-off, according to Spherix Global Insights

Exton, PA, July 11, 2023 – In June 2022, Eli Lilly and Incyte’s Olumiant became the first and only approved advanced systemic treatment for adults with severe alopecia areata (AA).​

At one-year post approval, perceptions of the oral JAK remain positive, as benchmarked values to Dupixent’s launch in atopic dermatitis (AD) reveal similar sentiments regarding satisfaction, familiarity, and perceived degree of advance. The brands diverge, however, on user base and patient initiations. ​Indeed, Dupixent’s AD user base and patient initiations displayed consecutive gains at a similar post-launch timing, while Olumiant’s may have already begun to plateau.

According to Spherix’s Launch Dynamix™: Olumiant in AA (US) service, Olumiant’s user base and patient initiations peaked earlier in the launch and have remained relatively consistent. While undoubtedly partially driven by the patient population size of AD vs. AA, the initial steam for Olumiant may be waning, begging the question – is one JAK inhibitor enough to address the current market need?​

​One year later, in June 2023, Pfizer announced the FDA approved Litfulo (ritlecitinib) for the treatment of severe AA for patients age 12 and over. Litfulo is the second JAK inhibitor for AA, though it will be the first JAK3/TEC available in dermatology.  While Litfulo indeed carries the same safety warnings as the rest of the JAK class, dermatologists overall have been more receptive to use of these agents based on their trial of Olumiant in AA, as well as their real-world experience with AbbVie’s Rinvoq and Pfizer’s Cibinqo for AD.

This could come as good news for Litfulo, however, familiarity with Pfizer’s asset was relatively low for a product gearing up for entry, according to pre-launch metrics captured in Spherix’s Market Dynamix™: Alopecia Areata (US) service. Furthermore, as the second-to-market JAK, the percentage of dermatologists that rate Litfulo as being an advance to the market was also low, while other assets with truly novel mechanisms such as Pfizer’s etrasimod and Equilium’s EQ-101 were rated higher.

When comparing Olumiant and Litfulo at similar pre-launch time points, nearly half of dermatologists reported at least moderate familiarity with Olumiant for AA.  Pre-launch familiarity with Litfulo pales in comparison; however, Olumiant has been on the US market for rheumatoid arthritis for several years, likely garnering higher awareness prior to the AA approval. Furthermore, nearly 40% of dermatologists anticipated they would begin prescribing the first JAK inhibitor for AA within three months of commercialization, a figure that nearly came to fruition at three months post-launch. For Litfulo, the percentage of dermatologists predicting use at three months closely follows Olumiant.  If actual projections pan out in practice, Olumiant will likely have to brace for an increasingly competitive market.

Spherix will be tracking the launch of Litfulo on a monthly and quarterly cadence as part of our Launch Dynamix™ service. The newest approval will be benchmarked to Olumiant in AA at a similar post-launch timeframe. Coverage of Olumiant’s launch in AA will continue through December 2023, with planned coverage of Litfulo beginning once commercially available​.

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.

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.

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.

To learn more about Spherix Global Insights, visit or connect through LinkedIn and Twitter.

Spherix Global Insights Contacts:

Gianna Melendez, Franchise Head, Dermatology

NOTICE: All company, brand or product names in this press release are trademarks of their respective holders. The findings and opinions expressed within are based on Spherix Global Insight’s analysis and do not imply a relationship with or endorsement by any company, brand, or product aforementioned. Additional source data available upon request.

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