AbbVie likely to retain key position in axial spondyloarthritis digital marketing space in Japan, says GlobalData

Historically, anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drugs were the key biologic therapies available in Japan for axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) treatment. However, the overall competition with the new class of marketed biologics such as anti-IL-17 therapies and the marketed biosimilars is expected to impact the sales of leading drugs — AbbVie’s Humira and Janssen’s/Mitsubishi Tanabe’s Remicade. Against this backdrop, leading and new players offer strong support to Japanese axSpA patients in the branded space through digital channels, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s ‘Digital Marketing Intelligence’ identified digital assets for AbbVie’s Humira (in collaboration with Eisai and EA Pharma), Janssen’s Remicade (in collaboration with Mitsubishi Tanabe), Eli Lilly’s Taltz, Novartis’s Cosentyx, and Kyowa Kirin’s Lumicef for axSpA patients in Japan. In addition, an analysis of digital presence by companies showed branded websites for Humira, Remicade, Cosentyx and Lumicef and an unbranded website (Nagabiku-yotu.com) from AbbVie.

Neha Myneni, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Digital support from key pharma companies is limited to only branded websites for most of the therapies, while unbranded support is offered by AbbVie alone. Furthermore, mobile apps and social media support for axSpA patients is completely lacking. Therefore, cross-channel marketing could provide opportunities to effectively design digital strategies and ensure consistent disease management support to patients especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to GlobalData’s ‘Pharmaceutical Intelligence Center’, the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of axSpA in Japan is estimated to report only a meager increase at an annual growth rate of <0.1% from 18,819 in 2021 to 20,941 in 2027.

In Japan, biosimilar competition for axSpA is seen for AbbVie’s Humira (2) and Janssen’s Remicade (4). Moreover, this competition will likely increase with the advent of a new class of therapies such as small molecule Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors that will offer a more convenient form of administration to axSpA patients.

Ms. Myneni concludes: “Considering the rarity of the disease and possibility of delay in diagnosis, strategic initiatives from existing players in terms of disease education, diagnosis support and lifestyle management through digital media would help them differentiate amongst the competition. However, AbbVie could further strengthen its position in the market as Rinvoq offers a branded website in Japan for its approved indications (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis) and approval in axSpA would make AbbVie to leverage its Rinvoq’s branded site.”

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