European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO) conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark last week [Photo provided by Celltrion]
New medicines that can be self-injected at home drew attention at this year’s European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO) conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark last week.
Patient convenience in administration is especially prioritized for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which causes unknown diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody stools. This digestive disease mainly affects people in their 20s to 40s. Since there is a slim chance of complete recovery, patients have to depend on long-term pharmacotherapy.
During the conference, a story of a 20-year-old student was introduced. The student had been suffering from ulcerative colitis, a type of IBD, for six years, spending most of his time in the bathroom. He had to visit the hospital periodically to receive intravenous injections, but thanks to a subcutaneous injection (SC) therapy that can be administered anywhere in just 10 seconds, he has been able to go back to college.
Most IBD patients are in their prime and active age, and they often suffer from mental illnesses such as frustration, depression and suicidal impulses due to disruptions in their daily life.
Reflecting the unmet needs, this year’s ECCO shed light on self-injectable products. American pharmaceutical company BMS showcased Zeposia, an oral medication taken once daily to manage ulcerative colitis. While Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors such as Xeljanz and Rinvoq face prescription restrictions due to side effects, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulators, such as Zeposia, have emerged in the capsule formulation market.
Among many new therapies, attention was focused on Remsima SC from South Korean biopharma company Celltrion Inc. Unlike intravenous injections that require needles to be inserted into the veins at hospitals, Remsima SC is designed to be self-injected once every two weeks, regardless of time and place.
Remsima SC [Photo provided by Celltrion]
It maximizes convenience as a pen-shaped auto-injector without a visible needle. Since it is an injection, the drug’s efficacy appears more quickly and strongly than orally administered medications.
“The auto-injector removes the inconvenience of the patient having to keep pressing the opposite end of the needle,” said Choi Byung-seo, head of global marketing at Celltrion Healthcare Co. “There is no risk of the drug expiring or the needle being contaminated, making it safe to use.”
The popularity of Remsima SC was once again highlighted on March 2 when its real-world data were presented. More than 170 medical professionals gathered at Celltrion Healthcare’s booth for Remsima SC, whereas only a few people attended AbbVie’s presentation at the same time.
During the presentation, Professor Milan Luk?? at Charles University, the Czech Republic, highlighted the widespread dissatisfaction with existing treatments and how the reasonable price of Remsima SC has given patients the opportunity for diverse treatments.
The professor emphasized the growing discussions on remote healthcare, predicting that the demand for Remsima SC will continue to increase.
According to data from the third quarter of last year, Remsima SC held 30 percent of the market share in Germany, 22 percent in Finland and 19 percent in France. As the number of patients with IBD continues to rise worldwide, many changes are expected in the treatment landscape.
Remsima SC, in particular, has been garnering attention in the industry as it prepares for its launch in the U.S. The drug has been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its unique formulation and is currently in the process for marketing approval as a novel drug.
Celltrion has successfully completed new clinical trials for Remsima SC targeting patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, paving the way for its launch in the U.S. market.
By Shim Hee-jin and Minu Kim
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