Medical Oncologists Have Rapidly Adopted Yervoy and Zelboraf in All Lines of Therapy for the Treatment of Metastatic Melan

BioTrends Research Group, LLC finds that Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy (ipilimumab) and Genentech / Roche’s Zelboraf (vemurafenib) have quickly penetrated the advanced melanoma market. According to the most recent LaunchTrends® Yervoy and Zelboraf survey, Medical Oncologists in the U.S. are utilizing molecular screening for the BRAFV600E mutation to identify Zelboraf patients. Patients that don’t have the BRAFV600E mutation (wild type) are often receiving Yervoy at all lines of therapy (1st line, 2nd line, 3rd line), instead of reserving these agents for late stages of therapy, which is often the case with new agents.

EXTON, Penn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Medical Oncologists have reported that there have been limited advances in the treatment of late stage melanoma over the last decade. This has now changed with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy, a monoclonal antibody that may stimulate the immune system to fight cancer and Genentech / Roche’s Zelboraf, a first-in-class personalized treatment that works on patients with a BRAFV600E mutation.

Yervoy which launched in April 2011, has been used by nearly 80 percent of the surveyed Medical Oncologists (n=106), with key driver of usage being the perception of a durable efficacy response. Yervoy has the highest unaided awareness of the therapies most often utilized in the treatment of unresectable (inoperable) or metastatic melanoma. Oncologists report that key barriers to usage are cost / reimbursement issues and autoimmune side-effects, although the side-effects can often be managed with steroids.

Zelboraf which launched in August 2011, has been used by just over half of the surveyed Medical Oncologists with key drivers of usage being efficacy in BRAFV600E mutation patients, well tolerated therapy and the rapid onset of action. Medical Oncologists also stated that identifying the appropriate patient type through molecular screening can also be an issue but the majority of physicians have rapidly adopted the BRAF testing process for their metastatic melanoma patients. Similar to Yervoy, a key barrier to usage for Zelboraf are cost / reimbursement issues.

It should be noted that as Yervoy and Zelboraf are rapidly adopted in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, growth is anticipated to come at the expense of Merck’s Temodar (temozolomide), generic dacarbazine, Prometheus’s Proleukin (interluekin-2) and generic paclitaxel with or without carboplatin. These declines will likely occur in the first, second and third lines of therapy.

In terms of drugs in development for advanced melanoma, Medical Oncologists have reported that they have a high level of interest with the combination therapy of Yervoy and Zelboraf, they feel that this therapy could provide a rapid yet durable response in patients with unresectable (inoperable) or metastatic melanoma. The other combination therapy that generates high levels of interest from Oncologists is GlaxoSmithKline’s BRAF inhibitor Dabrafenib which is being combined with the company’s MEK inhibitor Trametinib because it works in two different ways; they feel it could inhibit the rapid development of drug resistance in metastatic melanoma patients.

LaunchTrends®: Melanoma is a series of three post-launch syndicated reports designed to track the uptake of Yervoy and Zelboraf following its commercial availability. In the first wave of research, which measures Yervoy’s market impact at six months post-launch and Zelboraf market impact six week post-launch, BioTrends surveyed 106 Medical Oncologists and conducted qualitative interviews with a subset of 20 of the respondents in September 2011. BioTrends will continue to track the uptake of Yervoy and Zelboraf in two subsequent waves in this report series which will be fielded in April 2012 and October 2012.

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BioTrends Research Group, LLC
Elisa Ferrante, 610-321-9432
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Decision Resources Group
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