In an increasingly competitive psoriasis market, Sun Dermatology will need to bolster representative contact to increase brand familiarity and provide physicians with a rationale on why their IL-23 inhibitor should be prescribed over Janssen’s Tremfya.
EXTON, Pa., Dec. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Spherix Global Insights’ fourth quarter update of RealTime Dynamix™: Psoriasis (US), which includes the feedback of 100 U.S. dermatologists, reveals that Ilumya will likely face an uphill battle for adoption. Conversely, Tremfya, the first IL-23 inhibitor to be FDA approved for the treatment of psoriasis, continues to grow, making it difficult for newcomer Ilumya to establish preference over Janssen’s agent.
Over a year post-launch, Tremfya is still well received, with over half of sampled dermatologists indicating they are very satisfied with the agent. The majority of users have prescribed Tremfya to more than five patients and anticipate prescribing the agent to more patients in the next three months. Regarding patient types, Tremfya snags the top spot for patients seeking totally clear skin, beating out Novartis’ Cosentyx and Eli Lilly’s Taltz. In addition, nearly half of sampled dermatologists indicate that Tremfya’s status as the first IL-23 to market is a significant advantage over subsequent approvals, including Ilumya.
Being the second to market agent is challenging enough, but not supporting Ilumya with the right promotion could be crippling. Ilumya was approved by the FDA at the end March of this year, yet was not made available to patients until recently. In that time, representative contact has remained low, with the majority of collaborating dermatologists reporting they have never met with a Sun Dermatology medical science liaison or other representative. As a result, 56% of respondents have low familiarity with Ilumya. In fact, only half of dermatologists were aware of the agent’s FDA approval earlier this year.
While some have noted that Ilumya’s required in-office administration by a healthcare professional (HCP) will be beneficial for patients with Medicare coverage, the respondents are divided on whether this requirement is a deterrent for use. As one dermatologist states, “Is this the one that has to be injected in the office? I won’t be prescribing one like that. Dermatology schedules are too busy for that sort of thing. Patients are too busy too, and do not want to come in for office visits, sometimes traveling from significant distances. Dermatology practices do not want to put up the front money for the medication either, if that is part of the acquisition process.”
Despite this controversy regarding mandatory HCP administration, the majority agree that the extended every 12 week dosing of Ilumya is an advantage over Tremfya’s 8 week dosing. Respondents also indicate that if Ilumya has a significant cost savings over Tremfya, they are more likely to prescribe Sun Dermatology’s brand over the competitor. Increased representative contact to educate physicians and a favorable formulary status will likely benefit the brand, as a lack of familiarity and insurance/cost issues were cited as the greatest barriers to use. Furthermore, one-third of respondents noted that a decreased price and favorable access would provide Ilumya with a clear advantage over Tremfya. Should Sun Dermatology not capitalize on these opportunities, Ilumya may face the same fate as Ortho Dermatologic’s Siliq, the third-to market IL-17 inhibitor that also experienced launch delays, which (since becoming available in July 2017) has experienced minimal uptake and is consistently cast in the shadows of in-class competitors, Cosentyx and Taltz.
With a third IL-23 inhibitor likely entering the U.S. market in the first half of 2019, in the form of AbbVie/Boehringer Ingelheim’s risankizumab, the landscape is sure to further evolve. Indeed, risankizumab has shown extremely positive clearance data in clinical trials and will likely also have a more favorable 12 week dosing schedule, without the HCP administration requirement. While respondents are currently not overly familiar with any late phase pipeline assets, including UCB’s bimekizumab, Eli Lilly’s mirikizumab, and BMS’ TYK2 inhibitor, BMS-986165, AbbVie/Boehringer’s agent was selected with the greatest frequency as the pipeline molecule they would most like to see gain FDA approval.
About RealTime Dynamix™
The RealTime Dynamix™: Psoriasis US report series provides a quarterly detailed and timely look at current and future trends in the psoriasis market and the effects of the future shifting landscape. The series tracks the evolution of the market, provides a deep dive on launch effectiveness, and highlights opportunities for pipeline agents.
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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