UCB signed three broad pacts that aim to drill down into the issues hitting seizure cluster patients and boost awareness about the condition.
The Belgium-based pharma, which markets four epilepsy drugs, including Nayzilam, for seizure clusters, inked deals with Bonheur Children’s Hospital, the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) and Yale University to “further understand the economic and clinical impacts of undertreating seizure clusters and explore drivers of better outcomes,” according to a press release.
The three partnerships aim to “uncover and leverage the power of education and real-world evidence” to address what UCB sees as a research gap, all the while also boosting awareness of the condition to “enact positive change in the health outcomes of individuals with seizure clusters,” the release added.
There are many different types of epilepsy, and seizure clusters are characterized by episodes of increased seizure activity during which two or more seizures occur within a 24-hour period.
Seizure clusters can be especially tough for patients given their unpredictable nature, with UCB saying in its release that it can leave those living with epilepsy feeling anxious, worried, frustrated or isolated, which “further fuels a decline in mental health for this patient population.”
Breaking down the collabs, the project with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital will create tailored resources for patients and caregivers that address the importance of the proper use of rescue drugs such as Nayzilam outside the hospital. Its focus is on improving the lived experience of epilepsy patients.
This Ask the Experts project, as it has been dubbed, is set up to seek out the gaps in patient and caregiver education through the development of an educational resource and a video. Details of how exactly these will work are yet to be released.
The partnership with the WHIO, meanwhile, will analyse prescribing trends, healthcare utilization, costs, access barriers and disease prevalence across the U.S. The aim is to understand the economic and clinical impact of undertreating seizure clusters and to “explore drivers of better outcomes,” UCB said.
And the Yale University project, called Reduction of Seizures through Education and Support (ROSES), aims to improve care quality and increase understanding of seizure cluster management while adding new insights to clinical management and patient-centric care. Specifically, this study is designed to assess the impact of seizure rescue drugs and treatment patterns.
There is no drug branding here, and the collabs are not promotional, but clearly the information gleaned from these projects will help toward upping UCB’s understanding of the market while also boosting awareness of the condition, which could have an indirect impact on how medicines are prescribed.
Nayzilam, which works as a nasal spray, was FDA approved back in 2019 and launched that December. The drug made 57 million euros ($57 million) in 2021, but UCB is looking to ramp up its use.
UCB also markets three other epilepsy drugs for other forms of the condition: Briviact, Vimpat and Keppra. Those three meds collectively made $2.8 billion in sales last year. The company’s latest epilepsy treatment is Fintepla, which it acquired in the $1.9 billion buyout of Zogenix.
Vimpat, its biggest selling epilepsy drug with $1.5 billion in sales last year, lost its U.S. market exclusivity this year, and UCB is looking to new drugs such as Nayzilam to eventually help shore up the coming revenue losses as generics start to bite.
By Ben Adams
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