Ninety Percent of Surveyed Rheumatologists Intend to Prescribe Benlysta, the First Novel Drug for the Treatment of Lupus in 50+

EXTON, Pa., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends is pleased to announce the publication of a new syndicated report, TreatmentTrends®: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).  This report provides a comprehensive market overview of current and future treatment trends in SLE based on a primary research study fielded with 102 rheumatologists in the U.S. in June.  

The difficulty in treating the complex, relapsing and remitting course of SLE is manifested in rheumatologists' clinical practice.  A significant proportion of moderate-to-severe SLE patients experience at least three acute flares per year; are maintained on long-term, low-dose steroid therapy despite the associated long-term morbidity; and are treated with a cocktail combination of three or more agents.  Over the last six months, surveyed rheumatologists have been increasingly using CellCept and Rituxan to treat moderate to severe SLE due to favorable data, clinical experience, and increased comfort/familiarity.  Physicians perceive CellCept to be comparable to Cytoxan on several key attributes which drive physician prescribing behavior.  Though current therapies are effective in treating SLE, rheumatologists express concern about patients' ability to stay on therapy due to unwanted side effects.  Furthermore, rheumatologists consider the unmet need for new therapies for SLE to be greater than any other rheumatology condition that they treat in their clinical practice.

No new therapies have been approved for SLE in over fifty years and numerous products have failed in clinical trials.  However, rheumatologists expressed a high level of interest in Human Genome Science/GSK's Benlysta, a first-in-class BLyS-specific inhibitor currently under review by the FDA for SLE.  Rheumatologists reacted positively to the product's unique mechanism of action and favorable safety profile after viewing a product description (which included the BLISS-52 and BLISS-76 study results), but obstacles to Benlysta adoption are expected.  The vast majority of rheumatologists expect to begin using Benlysta shortly after launch; adoption would be particularly strong among rheumatologists with in-office infusion services.    

TreatmentTrends®: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an annual market research study that is derived from responses to an on-line survey completed by over 100 rheumatologists.  This report evaluates current and anticipated future class and brand utilization, rheumatologists' perceptions about attribute importance and product performance; and drivers and barriers to product adoption and usage.  Finally, the report also provides a competitive review of the awareness of new products in late stage development and their potential value to physicians' practices.  Later this year, BioTrends will field a parallel report, ChartTrends®: Lupus, which will analyze the details of over 1,000 patients with lupus currently being treated by rheumatologists.  Should HGS/GSK be successful in gaining approval for Benlysta, a LaunchTrends®: Benlysta study will kickoff in 2011 measuring success at one-month, three-month, and six-month intervals following FDA approval.

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