Camille Lee explains the ins and outs of the patient support system for psoriasis medication.
In an interview with Pharm Exec associate editor Don Tracy, Camille Lee, SVP, US head of immunology, speaks on Bimzelx Navigate and how it aims to support psoriasis patients during their journey.
Pharm Exec: In conjunction with Bimzelx, Bimzelx Navigate can be utilized as a "personalized patient support system." How is it able to be used as a resource for patients on this drug?
Lee: What we know through the depth of time, energy, and knowledge that we've put in understanding what that patient journey looks like, starting on a biologic success comes within the first six months. It's an important process when a patient gets the treatment, how they work through getting that treatment from a specialty pharmacist, and then how they integrate that into their daily life is an important step in those first six months. The Bimzelx Navigate program is designed to be there with patients from the start. From the time they get their prescription, they can initiate into the program. Through their starter kit, they will be linked with a nurse navigator. This will be a patient's single point of contact. They can reach out to this nurse navigator on a consistent and regular basis to get their questions answered, questions that could include things around how to inject, the status of insurance and getting payment, how to get payment assistance if it is needed, or working through the emotional support that can come with someone who is living with a chronic disease. We have something called the MyNavigate digital patient portal, and that also provides a wide assortment of tools and resources to help a patient navigate their treatment. Things such as medication reminders which are important for them to have and also insights to where their product is in the shipping process given that the treatment paradigm is not daily but ultimately, will move to monthly. It helps them be a partner in every step in the journey of their care.
Patients inspire us to what we do and we can't provide medicine if we're not a partner with them in that journey. UCB's feeling is that we have to be holistically there. We're in it together
Pharm Exec: In terms of UCB's rheumatology pipeline, what should viewers keep an eye out for?
Lee: We're just starting with Bimzelx and with our recent approval in psoriasis, we are rapidly moving forward in our pathway for other indications in the US, both in dermatology and rheumatology. It is our plan to initiate supplemental BLA fillings in the US and that would be focused in the area of rheumatology for the treatment of axial spondyloarthritis, which includes several indications within the AS space, it's a simpler way to put an acronym to that disease. That would also include ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic spondyloarthritis. We will also have indications within psoriatic arthritis and hidradenitis suppurativa which is also more into the dermatology treatment but also covers some of rheumatology. We're very excited about the pathways that we are taking with Bimzelx now that we have it approved for psoriasis and anticipate that we will be making great progress before the end of the year in all of these areas.
Pharm Exec: Can you discuss the significance of IL-17A and IL-17F inhibitors for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis?
Lee: We started our research and science in this space over a decade ago. As we evolved in our science, we revealed in the area of psoriasis that to block the inhibition of the cytokines, it's not only IL-17A that plays a role, but it's also IL-17F. This has been overlooked in other research. The primary reason for that is because the IL-17A cytokine is a more potent cytokine. That's been the target with some of the other molecules that are available. IL-17F is a less potent cytokine but it is more abundant than IL-17A. Both of them have a role in providing inhibition to inflammation. Targeting both of them leads to a more complete inhibition of inflammation with respect to psoriasis. This is played out in our clinical trials in a trial we have called BE RADIANT. In this study, it was a head to head study versus an IL-17A that is currently on the market. In that study, we show clinical superiority over the IL-17A in a PASI100. That hypothesis has played out into our clinical trials.
Pharm Exec: Besides patient assistance programs, can you discuss how UCB is working to ensure affordable access to medications for the patient populations who need them?
Lee: We strive to have access to patients. We have a patient assistance program where we offer the financial assistance for uninsured and under insured patients. That is our focus at this point. We also strive to have access through the Medicare population as we continue to build out availability of Bimzelx into the marketplace.
The biggest area is through patient assistance, ongoing dialog, and education.