Following the news that Novartis’ Zolgensma received FDA approval,
Vinie Varkey MSc, Senior Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on its impact on Biogen’s Spinraza:
“For Biogen itself, the worry is not expected to be immediate. Spinraza has the advantage of being first-to-market and having associated safety and efficacy data, a key concern for patients who are already on treatment with this therapy.
“Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) interviewed by GlobalData weighed on this advantage and stated that patients would think twice before deciding to switch to a new therapy which, albeit innovative and one-off, is perceived as one that lacks long-term safety data. In this respect, Novartis have their work cut out to persuade the wider community of physicians and patients to make the jump.
“However, the advent of new-born screening initiatives for SMA is expected to hand Novartis a big advantage in the long-term, as this will help identify pre-symptomatic patients who are likely to prefer a one-off gene therapy treatment compared to Biogen’s chronic treatment option.
“For Novartis itself, Zolgensma’s approval will be one that is instrumental in catapulting the company as a pioneer in innovative medicine, a theme that is closely embraced by the company and one that will continue to delight its shareholders. With impressive results from clinical trials for SMA, it will not be a surprise if the gene therapy platform from Novartis is leveraged further for applications in other indications, providing them with further growth opportunities.”