Two Drugs Dr Aimee Tharaldson Is Watching Closely in 2016




Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, senior clinical consultant of emerging therapies at Express Scripts, outlined the 2 pipeline drugs she is keeping a close eye on in 2016: both are breakthrough therapies and one could have a significant impact on the market.

Transcript (slightly modified)
What drugs in the pipeline are most exciting to you? What will you be watching in 2016?
There are a few drugs that I'm watching this year that I think are really interesting. Ocrelizumab is one. So this is a biologic drug for MS. And it's going to be the first MS drug approved for primary progressive MS. So that's about 15% of the MS population is diagnosed with primary progressive MS. And right now there is nothing FDA approved to treat these patients. It's been given a breakthrough therapy designation. It's an IV infusion, once every 6 months. And in a primary progressive trial it slowed disease progressive by 25% compared to placebo. So it seems like a very effective option. That's expected to be approved later this year, probably late December.

Another drug that I am watching is dupilumab. This may be approved in early 2017. It inhibits interleukins 4 and 13 for atopic dermatitis. So it would be reserved for patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis who can't be well controlled on currently available therapies, like the calcineurin inhibitors or topical corticosteroids. But this population is very huge—up to 1.6 milion Americans have more severe atopic dermatitis with no real good treatment options for them. So now we'll have a biologic drug that's given every 2 weeks by subcutaneous injections. It's very effective in clinical trials—a breakthrough therapy. I don't know how much it will cost, but my guess is somewhere around $20,000 a year. And if that's used in a large patient population chronically, it could have a really significant impact on the market.
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