Incorporation of the Anti-JC Virus Antibody Assay and Oral DMAs, Including Aubagio, are Top of Mind Recent Changes in the Management of Multiple Sclerosis Patients for Surveyed U.S. Neurologists

Apr 02, 2013, 08:00 ET from BioTrends Research Group

EXTON, Pa., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that surveyed U.S. neurologists most frequently mention the anti-JC virus antibody assay, followed by initiation / discussion of Genzyme's Aubagio and "oral" disease-modifying agents (DMAs), as recent changes in the management or treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) over the past six months. Data in the recently published TreatmentTrends: Multiple Sclerosis (U.S.) Q1 2013 report also suggest that, despite Biogen Idec's recent application requesting expansion of Tysabri's label to include first-line use among seronegative patients with relapsing MS, serostatus may not have a strong impact on first-line (or second-line) brand preference, given that Teva's Copaxone and other platform injectables are selected by no less than 72 percent of neurologists as their preferred brand, regardless of serostatus.

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Four months post-launch, nearly 40 percent of surveyed neurologists report having initiated an Aubagio trial, with the drug capturing a weighted share of 1.38 percent among DMA-treated MS patients. However, over one-quarter of surveyed neurologists continue to report being unsure of where Aubagio fits into their treatment algorithm.

Compared to one year ago, neurologists rate Novartis's Gilenya significantly higher on proven long-term safety and efficacy in early-stage MS, signifying that, after more than two years of clinical experience with the drug, neurologists have become increasingly comfortable with the drug's clinical profile. Interestingly, even as neurologists appear to gain more confidence with Gilenya, the reported share of the drug has remained relatively flat since the May 2012 cardiovascular-related label update.

In the current report, which presents a snapshot of the market at two months prior to the PDUFA date for Biogen Idec's Tecfidera (BG-12), both unaided and aided awareness of Tecfidera are high. Additionally, with surveyed neurologists reporting high willingness to prescribe Tecfidera upon launch to their relapsing-remitting MS patients, more than one-half of neurologists anticipate an initial trial of Tecfidera within the first three months of availability and 85 percent within the first six months. Taken together, surveyed neurologists' Tecfidera perceptions and anticipated prescribing signal a potential for strong post-launch uptake of Tecfidera.

TreatmentTrends: Multiple Sclerosis (U.S.) is a syndicated biannual report series that provides a comprehensive view of the current and anticipated management of MS based on primary research with neurologists. The current Q1 2013 wave was fielded with 99 neurologists in the U.S. in late January and early February 2013. A parallel report covering the European market (EU5) will also be available later in the year. These reports cover the use of DMAs for the treatment of MS, as well as attitudes and perceptions toward these products, advantages and disadvantages, ideal patient types, barriers to growth, and anticipated use. In addition, respondents are queried about their awareness of and interest in DMAs in development.

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