At One Month Post-Launch, Over Half of Surveyed U.S. Neurologists Have Prescribed Biogen Idec's Tecfidera, the Third-to-Market Oral Therapy, to Their Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Tecfidera's High Early Physician Trial Rate Surpasses that Observed With Novartis's Gilenya and Genzyme's Aubagio, According to a New Report from BioTrends Research Group

Jul 11, 2013, 09:00 ET from BioTrends Research Group

EXTON, Pa., July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that, despite being the third oral disease-modifying therapy (DMT) to launch in the U.S. multiple sclerosis (MS) market, 53 percent of surveyed U.S. neurologists have prescribed Biogen Idec's Tecfidera to at least one of their MS patients after only one month on the market. This rate for Tecfidera surpasses that for Novartis's Gilenya (19 percent), the first-to-market oral DMT, and Genzyme's Aubagio (16 percent), the second-to-market oral DMT, at the same stage of product launch. Data from the recently published LaunchTrends: Tecfidera Wave 1 report suggest that this impressive physician trial rate is likely to continue to grow over the coming months, with nearly all surveyed neurologists anticipating at least some Tecfidera prescribing among their DMT-treated relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients over the next six months. Coupled with this expansion in prescriber base, Tecfidera patient share among DMT-treated RRMS patients is anticipated to increase significantly from 2 percent to 15 percent, beating that projected for Aubagio (4 percent) and Gilenya (6 percent) by November 2013.

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Given the previous dominance of injectable DMTs in the MS market, it is not surprising that neurologists identify Tecfidera's oral formulation as being one of its main advantages, similar to the attitudes observed with the launches of Aubagio and Gilenya. However, the report finds that early Tecfidera trial and uptake may be driven more by neurologists' comfort with Tecfidera's safety profile and positive efficacy perceptions—together with the low monitoring burden required with Tecfidera treatment, especially compared to other oral DMTs—than by its mode of administration.

Nonetheless, the report also reveals that the upward trend in Tecfidera prescribing may be hampered by managed care issues, with neurologists recalling that up to one-quarter of Tecfidera prescriptions required proof of failure on a previous DMT despite Tecfidera's label not including any line restrictions. During qualitative interviews, a subset of Tecfidera prescribers expressed frustration in the time taken for patients to receive Tecfidera, with neurologists suggesting that delays may be due, in part, to preauthorization requirements with managed care companies.

"Given neurologists' hesitancy to switch patients who are responding well to their current DMT, potential managed care issues, and anticipated stable treatment rates, the projected increase in Tecfidera trial and adoption may end up being somewhat more muted," said BioTrends Research Group Analyst Emma Williams, Ph.D. "However, even if neurologists' conservative prescribing patterns blunt some of the trajectory, uptake will most likely still drive Tecfidera into a market leading position among oral DMTs by the end of 2013."

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SOURCE BioTrends Research Group