Spherix Global Insights

July 17, 2018

Rheumatologist User Base for Eli Lilly’s Taltz in Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) Boasts Strong Growth in Q2, While Use of Pfizer’s Xeljanz Has Remained Flat Over the Past Quarter

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EXTON, Pa., July 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —  The most recent quarterly results of a study conducted by Spherix Global Insights with 100 US rheumatologists reveals that the user-base for Eli Lilly’s Taltz has more than doubled since the first quarter of 2018 while use of Pfizer’s Xeljanz has remained relatively flat after a strong showing in Q1. Further analysis on brand share demonstrates that while Xeljanz directionally outpaces Taltz among biologic/JAK-treated PsA patients, the differences in share between the new market entrants does not reach statistical significance. Furthermore, a breakout of the most recent prescriptions reveals both brands are tied in the race to secure a foothold in the TNF-failure setting and capture a more commanding share of a well-served market.

While Taltz should be able to leverage its reputation in psoriasis to solidly entrench itself among rheumatologists as a treatment for patients with severe skin involvement, the dominance of Abbvie’s Humira and Novartis’ Cosentyx for skin-focused manifestations continues to hold.  Xeljanz’s lack of skin efficacy can be considered a barrier to increased use and Pfizer must console itself that its pink pill is currently perceived among many rheumatologists as a defacto treatment option for needle-phobic patients with more severe disease.  A deeper examination of patient types shows some unclaimed white space where either of the new entrants can challenge convention, deliver convincing messages, and gain an edge.

A closer look at perceptions of both IL-17 inhibitors reveals that while Taltz can rival Cosentyx on skin efficacy, it faces an uphill battle to establish consistent payer standing and to position itself as a viable option in joint disease. As such, rheumatologists do not see Taltz riding Cosentyx’s coattails or being the go-to alternative mechanism option in cases of TNF failure.  The study found that most respondents believe additional data would help Taltz, and rheumatologists also abound on ideas for further differentiation among the IL-17 class rivals.

Data on Simponi Aria and Orencia continues to disappoint when compared to the success of the other recent launches. Despite high levels of awareness, neither agent has been able to gain any substantial traction in PsA.  While the Simponi Aria user base has increased, its patient share has not budged, and like its subcutaneous counterpart, remains in the single digits.   For Orencia, both its user base and patient share have remained stable and low.  Both brands continue to struggle to be associated with any specific patient types, although Simponi Aria tends to be preferred more for older (i.e. Medicare), more sedentary patients.

Celgene’s Otezla still struggles to be understood and appreciated nearly four years after its launch and rheumatologists continue to believe it to be a better treatment for patients at higher risk of infection, as well as for patients with concerns about long-term safety.  While Otezla has made strides in market access, this continues to be a leading barrier, along with issues pertaining to gastrointestinal tolerability and perceptions of a lack of sustained efficacy.

Despite the availability of new treatments which are nibbling away share from the older TNFs like Amgen’s Enbrel, and Humira, many rheumatologists continue to believe there is a high level of unmet need in PsA treatment. Further development of Janssen’s Tremfya, Abbvie’s upadacitinib, and UCB’s bimekizumab will undoubtedly seek to address current shortcomings by leveraging their strengths in related conditions and compete for an increasingly challenging managed care environment.

RealTime Dynamix: Psoriatic Arthritis US is an independent report series published on a quarterly basis. The series tracks the evolution of the PsA market, provides a deep dive on launch effectiveness, and highlights opportunities for pipeline agents. The next wave of research will be published in September 2018.

About Spherix Global Insights
Spherix Global Insights is an independent business intelligence and market research company, specializing in renal, autoimmune, neurologic and rare disease markets. Our aim is to apply our commercial experience and unique relationships within core specialty markets to translate data into insight, enabling our clients to make smarter business decisions.

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Lynn Price, Immunology Franchise Head
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