NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A study published this week by ITG (NYSE: ITG) revealed that Novartis recently approved drug, Gilenya, has already taken share from market leaders in the multiple sclerosis (MS) market, and uptake is expected to increase significantly over the next year. Gilenya came onto the market in late September as the first FDA-approved oral disease-modifying MS drug, and Novartis initially faced safety concerns and monitoring requirements that deterred some physicians from adopting the new drug. Over 60% of neurologists in ITG's study cited safety concerns and monitoring as limiting their use of the drug, but most indicated that their prescribing of Gilenya will increase significantly over the course of 2011 as they continue to shift inadequate responders from other MS therapies to the new drug. Early switching data from ITG's proprietary panel of neurologists indicates that BIIB's Avonex may be the biggest loser of all, as nearly one-third of switches to Gilenya thus far have been from Avonex.
The study titled Event Pulse: Launch of Gilenya shows that Gilenya has been detailed heavily to neurologists since its launch. Neurologists in the study reported more frequent details on Gilenya in November than any of the other MS therapies. Study findings reveal that Novartis reps seem to be promoting the drug's unique oral formulation and its efficacy compared to market leaders, especially Biogen Idec's Avonex. Still, results from the study show that Novartis has not been able to completely allay neurologists' concerns about Gilenya's safety. Until resolved, Gilenya will likely be prescribed primarily for patients who have discontinued or have had an inadequate response to other MS therapie