GSK hopes to keep the Breo train rolling with new real-world COPD data


GlaxoSmithKline’s blockbuster wannabe Breo is finally picking up steam--and the British drugmaker has some new data it hopes can keep that trend going strong.

On Tuesday, it rolled out results from a real-world COPD study showing that the med, dubbed Relvar in Europe, beat out “usual care”--including LAMAs, LABAs and ICS regimens--at reducing exacerbations of the disease. And that’s a big deal, according to company global respiratory head Eric Dube.

“We believe the results could transform understanding of how patients in everyday clinical practice respond to COPD treatments,” he said.

The study results come as Breo is starting to come into its own and make its presence felt on Glaxo’s top line. On the company’s recent Q1 conference call, CEO Andrew Witty chalked its recent success up to better access, a newer indication in asthma, and DTC efforts, and those factors have been enough to power a 6-point prescription share gain over the past 12 months.

And with knockoffs of hard-to-copy respiratory giant Advair finally on the horizon, it’s an especially important time for Breo to be hitting its stride. Its market-share gains have helped GSK keep its grasp on its slice of the overall ICS/LABA pie in the U.S., for one, despite payer pressure hitting the blockbuster med hard.

Glaxo isn’t the only company trying to position a newcomer as Advair wanes, though. Earlier this month, the New England Journal of Medicine published head-to-head data showing that Novartis’ LABA/LAMA, Ultibro Breezhaler, topped the GSK superstar at preventing exacerbations in COPD patients.

And as the Swiss drugmaker figures, those results are enough to mark “a shift away from therapies containing steroids”--such as Breo, ICS/LABA--“for the optimal treatment of COPD patients,” Novartis CMO Dr. Vas Narasimhan said in a statement at the time.

- read Glaxo's release

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