Want a surefire way to shake up a drug market? Introduce new medication options that make it easier for patients to manage their disease. MS drugmakers would know; their market is all of a sudden full of them.
For one, a game-changing trio of pills is providing an alternative to injections. Novartis' ($NVS) Gilenya hit first in September 2010, followed by Sanofi's ($SNY) Aubagio and Biogen Idec's ($BIIB) Tecfidera. Two of those three, Gilenya and Tecfidera, nabbed spots on our list of Top 15 drug launch superstars after hitting the ground running. They're primed to keep moving up the food chain, too.
Then, there are new, long-acting meds like the 40-mg version of best-seller Copaxone, which hit the market just in time for maker Teva ($TEVA) to start converting patients ahead of a bumped-up May patent expiration. With a Supreme Court appeal in its patent case set to begin soon, Teva's seeing patients switch over to the new formula--injected thrice weekly, as opposed to daily--at a rate that has so far both surprised and impressed analysts. Biogen Idec, too, recently snagged the FDA's favor for its own long-lasting med, a follow-up to Avonex--dubbed Plegridy--that requires injection only once every two weeks.
Drugmakers are looking for more subtle yet significant ways to make their MS meds more attractive to patients, too. Take Biogen's Avonex Pen, for instance, green-lighted by the FDA the year before last. The Massachusetts biotech billed it as the first "intramuscular autoinjector" approved for MS and one it hoped would reduce "injection anxiety" and "pain."
Like what you're reading?
Click here to get more news like this delivered to your inbox every weekday >
All of these factors are helping redraw the MS treatment map, and we could soon be looking at a new king on the MS throne. So quick--check out our review of how the top 10 products stacked up in 2013, based on data from EvaluatePharma. The best-sellers list will look different before you know it. -- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter) and Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)