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Market Report: Oral Treatments Take Center Stage as Neurologists Try to Stop MS Progression Sooner

Injectables fall by wayside in search for more-aggressive therapies

Feedback gathered from 97 neurologists in June reveals that growing comfort with oral disease-modifying agents (DMAs) as well as several years of patient experience are driving neurologists to leave injectables behind as they search for more-aggressive treatments for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new report from Spherix Global Insights, a market research firm with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

While experience benefits oral agents moving forward in the MS treatment armamentarium, it is not the same story for established products, such as the infused agent Tysabri (natalizumab, Biogen), which remains relegated further back in the treatment journey, the report says.

“The MS market is highly dynamic, with more than ten DMAs currently available and increased switching between the DMA brands. In addition, evolving attitudes around safety concerns and heavy promotion aimed at clinicians and patients have made the competitive environment increasingly complex,” said analyst Andrew Deslaurier.

While oral therapies, such as Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate, Biogen) and Gilenya (fingolimod, Novartis), are being used in newly diagnosed and first-switch patients, the fate of new non-oral agents has been mixed, according to the report. Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a, Biogen) is the only platform injectable that demonstrated a favorable growth rate in the survey, gaining new patients from predecessor Avonex (interferon beta-1a, Biogen) and other brands.

In contrast, the infused agent Lemtrada (alemtuzumab, Genzyme) has been left to fight it out with established brands with their own strong disability stories. Lemtrada’s challenging safety profile along with anecdotal reports of difficulty with logistics has hampered uptake of the drug, according to the report.

Source: Spherix Global Insights; August 13, 2015.

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