Antibody Drug Conjugates Are Worth Watching, OptumRx Says

In its newest Drug Pipeline Insights Report, OptumRx highlighted recently approved or soon-to-be-approved drugs that might significantly impact payers and patients. In its latest quarterly report, though, the UnitedHealth Group-owned PBM also put special emphasis on one emerging and potentially costly category of therapies: antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).

ADCs work by combining engineered antibodies — called monoclonal antibodies — with a “potent small-molecule chemotherapy payload” to fight certain cancers, the report explains. Since monoclonal antibodies can discriminate between healthy and cancerous tissues, they are able to deliver chemotherapy drugs that would otherwise be way too powerful to use on their own. For example, in Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecanis-hziy), which the FDA approved on April 22 to treat an aggressive type of breast cancer, the “chemical payload” is 100 to 1,000 times more toxic than traditional anticancer agents, the OptumRx report pointed out.

© 2024 MMIT
Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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