BURLINGTON, Mass., March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources Group finds that new disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) with improved efficacy in slowing disability progression present the greatest opportunity for drug developers in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS). This finding is based on the relatively high level of unmet need for such advances and the high importance of effect on disability progression to prescribing choice ascribed unanimously by surveyed U.S. and European neurologists. Clinical data and the opinions of interviewed thought leaders indicate that Genzyme/Sanofi/Bayer HealthCare's Lemtrada is one therapy that has potential to address the unmet need in this area.
Other key findings from the DecisionBase report entitled Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: How Will the Complex Interplay Between Benefit, Risk, and Cost Impact Prescriber Preferences, and Payer Acceptance of, Future Disease-Modifying Therapies?:
- In addition to a drug's effect on disability and annualized relapse rate (ARR), surveyed U.S. neurologists and European neurologists weighted the risk of serious and/or life-threatening side effects as one of the most significant drivers of treatment choice in RR-MS.
- Nearly half of surveyed managed care organization (MCO) pharmacy directors exhibit a high willingness to reimburse new DMTs that have a greater effect on disability; however, for a hypothetical drug that reduces the risk of three-month sustained disability progression better than Biogen Idec's Tecfidera, over half of payers seek at least a 25 percent improvement to grant formulary coverage.
- In clinical trials, Teva/Active Biotech's emerging oral DMT Nerventra and Novartis/Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma's first-to-market oral DMT Gilenya/Imusera reduced brain atrophy by approximately one-third versus placebo. However, based on the results of a conjoint analysis, greater reductions in brain atrophy alone may not render a future DMT considerably more attractive to U.S. neurologists.
- Clinical data and the opinions of interviewed thought leaders indicate that Lemtrada, Biogen Idec/AbbVie's daclizumab, and Roche/Genentech's ocrelizumab offer improvements in ARR over first-line injectable mainstays (e.g., Teva's Copaxone). Surveyed U.S. neurologists indicate they would prescribe these agents to approximately one in ten eligible RR-MS patients.
Comments from Decision Resources Group Analyst Alana Simorellis, Ph.D.:
- "New drugs that offer an improved effect on disability progression represent one of the greatest unmet needs in the treatment of RR-MS. Experts perceive Biogen Idec's Tysabri and Lemtrada to offer improvements in reducing disability progression compared with first-line agents. In light of safety concerns, however, substantial opportunity awaits additional potent disease-modifying alternatives that can be more broadly prescribed."
- "With a rapidly growing DMT armamentarium that now features several oral products and increasingly effective options, our physician and payer research suggests that clinical differentiation and improved therapeutic value are ever more critical, and more challenging, to achieve."
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