According to a survey of ophthalmologists, in the first six months of biosimilar availability, aided awareness and familiarity are marginal while willingness to prescribe is low.
EXTON, Pa., Feb. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Last summer, the introduction of biosimilar agents into ophthalmologists’ armamentarium was a big event in the United States medical community. Despite the availability of these novel agents in the market for over six months, penetration has been low. Unfortunately for the biosimilar brands (Biogen’s Byooviz and Coherus Biosciences’ Cimerli), use of the reference product, Genentech’s Lucentis, has been waning over recent years in favor of Regeneron’s powerhouse Eylea.
Biosimilars have been available in the immunology and oncology communities in the United States for years, but they are new to ophthalmologists. Despite this, nearly one-quarter of ophthalmologists surveyed were unaware of Byooviz’s launch and another one-third were unaware of Cimerli’s. A key difference between the biosimilar brands is that Cimerli gained approval in not only neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) but also in diabetic macular edema (DME), the two largest markets for the anti-VEGF agents. Despite this advantage, the Cimerli is not considered any more of an advance over current agents than Byooviz according to ophthalmologists.
Uptake for both agents has only been lukewarm. The user-base (those surveyed reporting any use of the biosimilars at all) is under one in five with roughly one-quarter of non-users reporting they never intend to trial either of the newly launched agents. Like user-base, brand share for both agents remains notably low. Despite minimal use, those who are using the biosimilars are reasonably satisfied with the new to market therapies.
While biosimilars are best known as an avenue to improve patient access and drive down the cost of high-priced biologics, they have more similarities to a branded reference product launch than they do to a small molecule generic launch. The overall launch rating for both Byooviz and Cimerli in nAMD is considered poor by at least two out of five respondents and the launch rating of Cimerli in DME was rated poor by closer to half of those surveyed.
This rating could be in part due to the fact that ophthalmologists have had minimal contact with the biosimilar manufactures. Both Biogen and Coherus have never detailed the majority of ophthalmologists surveyed since launch. When competing with companies like Eylea’s Regeneron and Vabysmo’s Genentech, both of whom have been a household name amongst ophthalmologists for years, the new-to-ophthalmology-market manufactures need to prove their partnership and commitment.
Throughout 2023, Spherix will continue to track the launches of Byooviz and Cimerli via the Launch Dynamix series through partnership with Spherix’s network of ophthalmologists. Spherix will continue to collect monthly data on awareness, familiarity, use and uptake, timeline to trial, promotional effort, managed care trends, and projected use. On a semi-annual basis, the coverage will be augmented by a deep dive into the current ranibizumab biosimilar market as well as an initial read on the future of aflibercept biosimilars (referenced to branded Eylea) through their Special Topix: Biosimilars Today and Tomorrow series.
About Launch Dynamix™
Launch Dynamix™ is an independent service providing monthly benchmarking of newly launched products for the first eighteen months of commercial availability.
About Special Topix™
Special Topix ™ is an independent service that includes access to a report or series of reports based on current events or topics of interest in specialty markets covered by Spherix.
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Spherix Global Insights Contacts
Chrystal Ferguson, Senior Insights Director, Ophthalmology
Scott Upham, Corporate Communications
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SOURCE Spherix Global Insights