EXTON, Pa., July 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For the past year, neurologists have been reporting high anticipation for Roche/Genentech's Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) which finally gained FDA approval in late March. Early market research, conducted with 104 neurologists in June, shows many neurologists following through with their intent to use Ocrevus "right away". Indeed, close to half of those surveyed have placed patients on Ocrevus and within six months, nearly 80% of those surveyed expect to be using the drug.
As the first disease-modifying therapy approved to treat primary progressive MS, it is not a surprise to see Ocrevus being used in this patient population. However, use in relapsing MS, where it is also indicated, was also strong, capturing more than half of the Ocrevus new starts. While most Ocrevus patients were switched from Biogen's Tysabri and Genentech's own Rituxan, about a quarter of the patients were not on another DMT immediately prior and more than one in five were switched from an oral DMT, largely Biogen's Tecfidera.
Patient requests are important in the MS market and 71% of the surveyed neurologists report receiving patient requests for Ocrevus since launch. While not all patients are considered candidates for the drug, a sizeable percentage of those requesting the drug have been started on it. Patient requests are strongly correlated with brand use as observed in RealWorld Dynamix: DMT Brand Switching in MS, which found that when a patient requested a specific brand, in 77% of the cases that brand was prescribed. This is in spite of neurologists estimates of lower request-to-fulfillment ratios. Tecfidera has been the leader in patient requests over the past six quarters and, not inconsequently, also happens to be the share leader in the oral DMT market by a wide margin.
Also noteworthy this quarter is the continued erosion of the "ABCR" contingent representing Biogen's Avonex, Bayer's Betaseron, Teva's Copaxone and EMD Serono's Rebif. Brands for which at least 30% of the surveyed neurologists have reported decreased use of in the past three months. This share has largely been gobbled up by the oral DMTs, but projected trends show that growth for orals may be slowing in the near term with only Sanofi-Genzyme's Aubagio projected to have a significant increase in share.
Finally, it is worth calling out that neurologists are reporting increased pressure from payers. Compared to the same quarter last year, neurologists estimate that a significantly higher percent of their MS patients (20% vs. 14% in 2016) are receiving suboptimal care due to inadequate or inferior insurance coverage. 60% feel that payers are becoming more aggressive with MS patient management and a similar percent report that payer policies strongly influence their use of specific DMTs.
RealTime Dynamix: Multiple Sclerosis is an independent report series published each quarter. The series tracks the evolution of the MS market, provides a deep dive on launch effectiveness and highlights opportunities for pipeline agents. The next wave of research will be fielded in August 2017.
About Spherix Global Insights
Spherix Global Insights is a business intelligence and market research company specializing in renal, autoimmune, neurologic and rare disease markets. We provide clients with strategic insights leveraged from our independent studies conducted with healthcare providers and other stakeholders.
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