Zeposia May Have Challenges Within Ulcerative Colitis Class

A new entrant to the ulcerative colitis therapeutic class brings a new mechanism of action. However, according to payers responding to a survey by Zitter Insights, the treatment, Bristol Myers Squibb’s Zeposia (ozanimod), may have some challenges breaking into the space.

On May 27, the FDA gave an additional indication to Zeposia for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. It is the first and only sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator approved for this indication. The agency initially approved the capsule on March 26, 2020, for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Three other oral S1Ps are approved for MS: Gilenya (fingolimod) and Mayzent (siponimod), both from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., and new entrant Ponvory (ponesimod), from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Treatment is initiated with a 0.23 mg dose once daily on days one through four, then 0.46 mg once daily on days five through seven and then 0.92 mg once daily afterwards. The price of a starter kit consisting of the initial 37-day supply is $9,110, and a 30-day supply is $7,387.

For the Managed Care Biologics & Injectables Index: Q3 2020, between Aug. 25, 2020, and Sept. 28, 2020, Zitter Insights polled 50 commercial payers with 127.5 million covered lives. Payers with 67% of covered lives said they are unlikely to prefer Zeposia over other therapies approved for ulcerative colitis or to incentivize physicians to prescribe it. Almost one-quarter said they are likely to exclude it from formulary.

Zitter Insights and AIS Health are MMIT companies.

During the same time frame, Zitter Insights polled 50 gastroenterologists about their anticipated prescribing of Zeposia. Almost two-thirds said that they are likely to prescribe the agent for people with ulcerative colitis who had not responded to a previous treatment, and more than half said they are unlikely to prescribe the new drug as a first-line therapy for ulcerative colitis (see chart below).

For more information on the Zitter data, contact Jill Brown Kettler at jbrown@aishealth.com.

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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