Payers, Dermatologists Say They Are Interested in New Psoriasis Drug Vtama

A new drug to treat plaque psoriasis is the first topical novel chemical entity launched in the U.S. for the condition in 25 years. Both payers and dermatologists have expressed interest in the agent, according to Zitter Insights.

On May 23, the FDA approved Roivant Sciences subsidiary Dermavant Sciences, Inc.’s Vtama (tapinarof) cream for the topical treatment of plaque psoriasis in adults, regardless of disease severity. The company says the agent is the first and only FDA-approved steroid-free topical medication in its class. Dosing of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist is once daily on affected areas, and the drug has no restrictions on length of use. The price for one tube of the drug is $1,325.

For the Managed Care Biologics and Injectable Index: Q2 2021, between May 18, 2021, and July 13, 2021, Zitter Insights polled 40 commercial payers covering 129.5 million lives and 50 dermatologists about four agents that were in the late-stage psoriasis pipeline: Vtama; Bristol Myers Squibb’s deucravacitinib, an oral, selective allosteric tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor; Eli Lilly and Co.’s mirikizumab, an intravenous interleukin-23 (IL-23) inhibitor; and Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc.’s roflumilast cream, a phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitor.

Eli Lilly said last year that it would not pursue an FDA approval for mirikizumab in psoriasis. The agency is set to make decisions on roflumilast by July 29 and on deucravacitinib by Sept. 10.

Payers with 40% of covered lives and 44% of dermatologists said they were at least somewhat aware of Vtama as a psoriasis pipeline agent.

Zitter Insights and AIS Health are both MMIT companies.

While both payers and dermatologists said they had the most interest in roflumilast, payers representing almost 40% of lives expressed high interest in Vtama upon its approval and launch. One respondent with 1.7 million lives said it was interested in Vtama because “topical formulations would have less systemic side effects.” Dermatologists, however, were more interested in the newly approved therapy, with 44% saying they had high interest in it (see chart).


For more information on the Zitter Insights data, contact Jill Brown Kettler at

© 2024 MMIT
Angela Maas

Angela Maas

Angela has an extensive background of editing, reporting and writing for trade and consumer publications. She has written Radar on Specialty Pharmacy (formerly called Specialty Pharmacy News) since she joined AIS Health in 2005 and has broad knowledge of the various issues at play within the space. Before joining AIS Health, she was managing editor at Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit News Canada and managing editor at HemAware (a hemophilia publication), Lupus Living and Momentum (a multiple sclerosis publication). She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in British literature from Arizona State University.

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