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Survey: Ulcerative Colitis Drug Vedolizumab May Offer Better Remission Rates Versus Infliximab

Improved remission maintenance is greatest unmet need (Apr. 29)

In a survey conducted by Decision Resources, a research and advisory firm based in Burlington, Mass., U.S. and European gastroenterologists agree that new therapies for moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis that offer an improved effect on the maintenance of remission over current therapies would be well received.

While available clinical data and the opinions of thought leaders indicate that the currently available therapies azathioprine (Imuran, GlaxoSmithKline/Prometheus Laboratories/UCB, and generics) and adalimumab (Humira, AbbVie/Eisai) and the emerging therapies golimumab (Simponi, Janssen/Merck) and tofacitinib (Xeljanz, Pfizer) offer comparable or lower efficacy than sales-leading infliximab (Remicade, Janssen/Merck) for remission maintenance, the emerging agent vedolizumab (Takeda) has the potential to offer improvement on this attribute, based on phase III clinical data. Interviewed thought leaders reported that some of their patients experience a loss of response to infliximab over time.

The survey also finds that vedolizumab may more effectively reduce the need for corticosteroids than infliximab and offers potential safety advantages over the sales leader.

“Interviewed thought leaders consistently express the need for drugs which more effectively maintain and sustain long-term remission, due to either the modest or waning efficacy of current therapies,” said analyst Kathrina Quinn, PhD. “According to phase III trial data, treatment with vedolizumab resulted in a maintenance of remission rate that was approximately 60% greater than the rate seen in an infliximab trial, in a population that included TNF [tumor necrosis factor]-failure patients. This novel agent is also perceived to have a lower risk of hypersensitivities reactions and minor adverse effects than the first-line TNF-alpha inhibitor.”

Surveyed pharmacy directors in U.S. managed care organizations agreed that therapies with improved remission maintenance represent a significant unmet need in ulcerative colitis, and they indicated a willingness to place such therapies on a favorable formulary tier. Pharmacy directors also expressed a need for therapies with an improved effect on the avoidance of surgical intervention. Such therapies reduce the need for surgical procedures such as colectomy, thereby reducing the costs associated with hospitalization. Despite this unmet need, no long-term data exist regarding the effect of emerging therapies on surgical intervention.

Source: Decision Resources; April 29, 2013.

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