AbbVie tops, J&J drops as physicians rank immunology players

Immunology is AbbVie’s world, everyone else just lives in it. That is the takeaway from ZoomRx’s analysis of the perceptions of healthcare professionals (HCPs), who overwhelmingly see AbbVie as the top dog in a field targeted by rivals such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

ZoomRx asked HCPs to rank immunology drug developers in terms of attributes such as innovation and patient centricity. Most HCPs ranked AbbVie as one of the top three companies in each category, causing it to score 100 on ZoomRx’s perception scale. Pfizer was a distant second with a score of 70, followed by J&J with a score of 52. 

AbbVie was a dominant force in immunology throughout the Humira era. Novel and biosimilar rivals are starting to chip away at the megablockbuster, reducing its sales to $14.4 billion last year, but AbbVie has managed to stay at the top of the HCP rankings.

ZoomRx analysts pointed to AbbVie’s “hefty investments in mRNA therapies, companion diagnostics and strategic acquisitions like Landos Biopharma” to explain how the company has kept its crown. The trends suggest AbbVie “is well-positioned for the future,” ZoomRx said. Marketing may have played a role, too, with AbbVie consistently spending heavily on promoting its immunology blockbusters Rinvoq and Skyrizi. 

Pfizer is a long way from rivaling AbbVie for the top spot, but ZoomRx said it “packs a punch,” pointing to its pipeline and acquisition of Arena Pharmaceuticals as strengths. J&J took third position but “faces an uphill battle,” ZoomRx said. The survey revealed a significant drop in J&J’s perception and loyalty scores at a time when its top immunology drug, Stelara, faces competition from biosimilars and UCB’s Bimzelx.

“J&J needs to strategize to regain lost ground,” ZoomRx said. The drugmaker has a cushion over Takeda and Sanofi, which, respectively, ranked fourth and fifth with scores of 34 and 14, but has reasons to be glancing over its shoulder.

Takeda is mounting a charge, ZoomRx said, as shown by positive perception scores in the latest data. The drugmaker has won approval for Eohilia and spent $4 billion on Nimbus Therapeutics’ TYK2 inhibitor, leading ZoomRx to call it a “strong contender in the competitive landscape.” Sanofi lagged behind on some metrics but ranked relatively highly in innovation.