Radar on Specialty Pharmacy

  • New FDA Approvals: FDA Approves BioLineRx’s Aphexda

    Sept. 8: The FDA approved BioLineRx Ltd.’s Aphexda (motixafortide) in combination with filgrastim to mobilize hematopoietic stem cells to the peripheral blood for collection and subsequent autologous transplantation in people with multiple myeloma. The agency gave the agent orphan drug designation. Dosing for Aphexda is 1.25 mg/kg based on actual body weight via subcutaneous injection after filgrastim has been administered daily for four days and 10 to 14 hours prior to the start of apheresis. The drug’s price is $5,900 per vial, and the company has said that it expects most patients will need two vials.

    Sept. 8: The FDA expanded the label of Sandoz Inc.’s Hyrimoz (adalimumab-adaz) to include the treatment of adults with non-infectious intermediate and posterior uveitis and panuveitis. The agency first approved the biosimilar of AbbVie Inc.’s TNF inhibitor Humira (adalimumab) on Oct. 30, 2018. Dosing starts with 80 mg via subcutaneous injection, followed by 40 mg every other week starting one week after the initial dose. The agent is available in a low-concentration, citrate-free version of its reference drug. The product launched in July with two wholesale acquisition costs: a branded version with a WAC of $6,576 and an unbranded one for $1,315 for a carton of two syringes or autoinjectors.

  • News Briefs: Boehringer Ingelheim Launched Unbranded Interchangeable Humira Biosimilar

    Boehringer Ingelheim’s adalimumab-adbm interchangeable biosimilar is now available at an 81% discount to its reference drug, AbbVie Inc.’s Humira (adalimumab), the manufacturer said Oct. 2. In early July, the company launched a branded version of the agent, Cyltezo, at a 5% discount. Both are citrate-free formulations available in various strengths for multiple inflammatory conditions.

    Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. will voluntarily withdraw Exkivity (mobocertinib) after the Phase III EXCLAIM-2 confirmatory trial did not meet its primary endpoint, the company disclosed Oct. 2. The FDA gave the kinase inhibitor accelerated approval on Sept. 15, 2021, for the treatment of adults with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 20 insertion mutations, as detected by an FDA-approved test, whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. The company says it made the decision in consultation with the FDA and is working with the agency on withdrawal timing. It also is working with other regulatory agencies to withdraw the drug globally. In the meantime, Takeda says it is working to make sure that people receiving Exkivity can maintain access to the medication.

  • Now That Humira Biosimilars Have Launched, What Are Lessons Learned for Stelara Biosimilars?

    Following the launch of almost 10 biosimilars of AbbVie Inc.’s Humira (adalimumab) this year, 2025 will be another big year for the U.S. biosimilar market, when no less than three versions of Stelara (ustekinumab) from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson are set to become available. Having the experience of assessing multiple competitors with varying attributes could help payers as they prepare for the launches, say industry experts.

    Stelara is a human interleukin-12 (IL-12) and -23 (IL-23) antagonist indicated for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease, adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis, people at least 6 years old with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy and people at least 6 years old with active psoriatic arthritis.

  • Prime, Magellan Rx Offer Value Plus to Help States Negotiate Value-Based Contracts for CGTs

    As more and more high-cost therapies, including cell and gene therapies (CGTs), enter the U.S. market, commercial health plans have multiple tools at their disposal to manage these agents. Medicaid plans, however, are limited in what they can do. But a multistate value-based contracting (VBC) tool offered by Magellan Rx Management and its parent company, Prime Therapeutics LLC, is helping Medicaid programs access CGTs and ensuring that the agents’ costs are linked to patient outcomes.

    A new Medicaid Pharmacy Insights report, titled The State of Value-Based Contracting: Reinventing the Current Drug Payment Model in Medicaid, notes that Medicaid is usually the largest expenditure in state budgets. States need to be able to offer costly CGTs while also managing their budgets. But various barriers to offering value-based contracts — including a lack of resources to negotiate them, as well as collect data and measure outcomes — have limited adoption of these agreements.

  • FDA Broadens Lonsurf Use in Colorectal Cancer

    The FDA recently granted another approval to Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Division Taiho Oncology, Inc.’s Lonsurf (trifluridine/tipiracil) in combination with another agent for a type of colorectal cancer. The decision provides another treatment option for a condition that respondents to a Zitter Insights survey regard as in need of more effective therapies.

    On Aug. 2, the FDA approved Lonsurf as a single agent or in combination with bevacizumab for the treatment of adults with metastatic colorectal cancer previously treated with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin- and irinotecan-based chemotherapy, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drug and, if Rat sarcoma (RAS) wild-type, an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy. Bevacizumab originally was available as Avastin from Genentech USA, Inc., a member of the Roche Group, but now four biosimilars of it are also on the market: Celltrion USA, Inc.’s Vegzelma (bevacizumab-adcd), Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s Alymsys (bevacizumab-maly), Pfizer Inc.’s Zirabev (bevacizumab-bvzr) and Amgen Inc.’s Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb).

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