Spherix Global Insights

April 08, 2024

Pfizer’s Velsipity poised to outpace BMS’ Zeposia in ulcerative colitis market, but must head off further competition: analysts

In its first few months of U.S. availability, Pfizer’s Velsipity has already made a splash in the moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) space, where it’s up against BMS’ Zeposia, a fellow S1P receptor modulator, as well as biologics including AbbVie’s Humira and Rinvoq, J&J’s Stelara, Takeda’s Entyvio and Eli Lilly’s Omvoh, the last two of which were approved within weeks of Velsipity last fall.

But Pfizer will need to step up its game to continue warding off those competitors, according to a report from GlobalData.

In the report, healthcare analyst Filippos Maniatis noted that Velsipity has a leg up over Humira and other biologics for UC treatment because of its oral administration. It’s also backed by a strong showing in clinical trials, in which Velsipity appeared to produce better efficacy over placebo than Zeposia did in its own studies.

Even so, Pfizer will need to pay close attention to both its competition—and especially close rival Zeposia—and the needs of patients to carve out a lasting future in the UC treatment space, per GlobalData, especially as future challengers emerge from the pipeline to join an increasingly popular field.

“The UC market has become highly competitive in recent years, and can be considered a very dynamic field, with multiple therapies receiving approvals for the treatment of UC. Ongoing unmet needs in the field as well as the healthcare burden of the disease highlight the need for the development of advanced therapies,” Maniatis said. “There is an anticipation that pipeline agents in development for UC will eventually be able to address the need for highly efficacious treatment alternatives should these agents receive approval.”

Pfizer declined Fierce Pharma Marketing’s request for comment.

Data recently compiled by Spherix Global Insights about Velsipity’s first three months on the U.S. market since its approval last October indicate the drug’s potential to overtake its competitors in the space. The Spherix report shows that the size of Velsipity’s user base after three months—with about a third of gastroenterologists surveyed already prescribing the drug—was comparable to Rinvoq’s at the same point in its own launch, while decently outstripping Zeposia’s first-three-months performance.

And while doctors are still in the early days of prescribing Velsipity, Spherix suggested that its user base, estimated to be 1.1% of the market as of the February analysis, could more than double in the next six months, bringing its market share close to Zeposia’s 4.3%.

They’ll both still trail the brand share of Entyvio, Humira, Stelara and Rinvoq, however, especially as S1Ps continue to rank low on doctors’ views of the safest and most effective mechanisms of action in UC treatments—though the physicians surveyed by Spherix did praise Velsipity’s oral administration as a major plus.

“Use and manufacturer launch perceptions for Velsipity are outpacing those of its S1P predecessor at the same point in its launch. Pfizer has a leg up on BMS as a respected and known entity in gastroenterology as the pioneer in the development of oral assets in IBD,” Jim Hickey, head of Spherix’s gastroenterology franchise, said in a statement sent to Fierce Pharma Marketing.

“Gastroenterologists clearly desire to have an efficacious oral in the pre-biologic space,” Hickey continued. “While prescribers show a strong affinity for Rinvoq, the product’s label limits first-line use, creating a real opportunity for Pfizer with Velsipity. However, for Pfizer to be truly successful they will need to overcome pre-existing S1P perceptions stemming from Zeposia.”

Source: Fierce Pharma: https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/docs-sing-praises-madrigals-rezdiffra-predict-rapid-uptake