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Survey: Half of Nephrologists Familiar With Newly Approved Velphoro

Respondents express interest in galectin-3 binder GCS-100

In a survey conducted by Decision Resources Group, a health care research firm located in Burlington, Mass., more than half of surveyed nephrologists expressed “moderate” familiarity with the FDA’s approval of Velphoro (sucroferric oxyhydroxide chewable tablets, Fresenius Medical Care), a new phosphate binder, in November 2013 for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

“Physicians are recalling lower number of pills as one of Velphoro’s primary messages from sales representatives,” said analyst Ron Dubman. “Not surprisingly, we have found in this and other studies that delivery attributes are not as important compared with efficacy and safety attributes.”

Surveyed nephrologists reported being under the most pressure from their dialysis units to restrict the measurement of nonessential labs, to use lower doses of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), and to have more stringent hemoglobin targets, resulting in less ESA use. Nephrologists believed that the delay in including oral dialysis drugs into the end-stage renal disease payment bundle will similarly affect the future use of phosphate binders, oral iron, and cinacalcet (Sensipar, Amgen).

The survey also found that the use of iron sucrose injection (Venofer, Vifor/American Regent) in hemodialysis patients has significantly decreased compared with this time period last year.

The report discusses aided familiarity, interest, and percentage of patients as likely candidates for 12 renal products in development after a review of product profiles. Key findings include the following:

  • Nearly half of nephrologists reported high interest in GCS-100 (La Jolla Pharmaceutical), a galectin-3 binder; this response was higher than for all other renal anemia and bone mineral metabolism products in late-stage development covered in the survey.
  • Nearly one-third of nephrologists reported high interest in the oral renal anemia product GSK-1278863A (GlaxoSmithKline).
  • Nearly one-third of nephrologists reported high interest in ST-10 (Shield Therapeutics), an oral ferric iron therapy.
  • Should velcalcetide (Amgen), an intravenous therapy for secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT), receive FDA approval, nephrologists expected significantly higher usage in the dialysis versus the CKD non-dialysis setting.
  • Although familiarity was low, more than 40% of nephrologists reported high interest in Rayaldee (OPKO Health), an oral vitamin D therapy used to treat SHPT, after reviewing a product profile. The compound is being tested in patients with stage-3 and stage-4 CKD.

Source: BioTrends Research Group; July 10, 2014.

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