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U.S. Neurologists Eagerly Await Promising Oral Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Pipeline, Though Recent Trial Readouts Might Hamper Initial Excitement

Efficacy and safety of pipeline multiple sclerosis assets viewed as increasingly important characteristics, according to Spherix Global Insights. 

[Exton PA, December 13, 2023] — Several clinical trials are underway for Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitors (BTKi) targeting relapsing and progressive multiple sclerosis (RMS/PPMS). These BTKis, administered orally, possess the advantage of easy dosing while leveraging their small molecular structure to effectively traverse the blood-brain barrier, providing both anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective advantages. Consequently, their convenient delivery and perceived therapeutic benefits have garnered positive attention among their future prescribers, and they were thought to present a potential alternative mechanism to infused monoclonal antibodies, currently established as the gold standard in RMS/PPMS treatment. 

As orally administered BTKis are already established in oncology, there was a notable level of awareness, familiarity, and anticipation surrounding these developmental assets amongst neurologists. Through Spherix’s quarterly RealTime Dynamix™ market tracker, neurologists and MS specialists have expressed an increasing level of enthusiasm for these investigational therapies over time. Impressively, more than one-third of surveyed neurologists spontaneously highlighted the development of BTKis as the most pivotal event on the MS horizon throughout 2023 surveys. Additionally, BTKis collectively stood out as the most readily recalled developmental assets among healthcare providers. This heightened interest extended to AB Sciences’ masitinib, a selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor.  

However, a sudden twist has unfolded with two BTKis, currently in or near completion of pivotal phase 3 trials for RMS, as they encountered setbacks involving safety and efficacy concerns. On November 30th, Roche/Genentech disclosed that the FDA had placed fenebrutinib on a partial clinical hold due to elevated liver enzymes observed in two patients. Shortly after, EMD Serono announced that evobrutinib failed to achieve its primary goal of reducing the annualized relapse rate compared to active comparator, oral teriflunomide in both Phase 3 studies. Amid substantial anticipation for these and other BTKis from Biogen (BIIB091), Novartis (remibrutinib), and Sanofi (tolebrutinib), these setbacks come at a pivotal juncture.  

In the latter half of 2023, Spherix tracking revealed a rising anticipation for the BTKis in development while neurologists concurrently emphasized a shift in priorities, placing increased emphasis on safety and efficacy while de-emphasizing the significance of dosing convenience. When specifically focusing on the BTKis, twice the number of neurologists emphasize their anticipated efficacy, rather than favorable safety, as the driver for prescribing this new mechanism of action once it enters the market.  

With the recent trial outcomes impacting two of the prominent BTKis in development, the optimistic prospects for this class now face uncertainty. This situation potentially paves the way for masitinib to emerge as a standout oral option in the landscape. Spherix will be assessing the implications of the recent fenebrutinib and evobrutinib updates on perceptions concerning these individual assets, the wider BTK class, and the entirety of the MS pipeline within their forthcoming RealTime Dynamix™ 2024 coverage. 

RealTime Dynamix™ is an independent service providing strategic guidance through quarterly or semiannual reports, which include market trending and a fresh infusion of event-driven and variable content with each wave. The reports provide an unbiased view of the competitive landscape within rapidly evolving specialty markets, fueled by robust HCP primary research and our in-house team of experts.   


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. 

For more details on Spherix’s primary market research reports and interactive dashboard offerings, visit or register here: 

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 endorse

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