Nephrologists Indicate High Interest in AMAG Pharmaceuticals' Newly Approved Feraheme According to Latest BioTrends Report

Nephrologists Indicate High Interest in AMAG Pharmaceuticals' Newly Approved Feraheme According to Latest BioTrends Report

EXTON, Pa., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, Inc. released TreatmentTrends(R): US Nephrology, a syndicated report analyzing treatment practices, attitudes and perceptions based on online survey results from over 200 US Nephrologists. The survey was fielded in late May and focuses on trends in treatment patterns for renal anemia, secondary hyperparathyroidism and hyperphosphatemia.

Nephrologists are extremely interested in AMAG's new IV iron product, Feraheme, which was approved by the FDA on June 30, 2009. Nephrologists identified two areas in particular where both American Regent / Fresenius' Venofer and Watson's Ferrlecit seem to fall short, where AMAG may have an advantage. According to Nephrologists, the current products underperform in the CKD-ND setting on quick administration and minimal staff time. These administration attributes are areas where Nephrologists perceive Feraheme to have a competitive advantage. The uptake of Feraheme and its impact on the anemia market will be further explored in LaunchTrends(TM): Feraheme, a three-wave report series from BioTrends tracking trial, adoption and usage at one month, three months, and six months post launch.

The longer term changes in the anemia market are overshadowed by the pending dialysis bundled payment system scheduled to be implemented in 2011. According to a recent report published by BioTrends on anticipated impact of the dialysis bundle, Medical Directors foresee the increased use of IV iron to spare the use of ESAs (such as Amgen's Epogen) as well as IV iron brand selection being heavily influenced by price. Although the bundled payment only impacts the dialysis market, reimbursement has a high degree of influence on brand choice in the chronic kidney disease non dialysis (CKD-ND) market as well. This adds importance to Nephrologists' perception that Centocor-Ortho Biotech's Procrit has a competitive advantage over Amgen's Aranesp on "minimal hassles with prior authorizations" and "adequate reimbursement".

In the phosphate binder market, Genzyme's sevelamer compounds are being used to treat almost half of the dialysis patients. At one year post launch, virtually all Nephrologists have started to use Renvela, the new formulation. FMC's PhosLo is under mounting pressure from generic versions of the product and Nephrologists are showing little resistance - 80% either allow substitution or prescribe the generic version outright. Shire's Fosrenol is the only brand for which Nephrologists project significant increases in market share. Despite significantly higher performance ratings on the most important attribute (Efficacy), Fosrenol is still typically reserved for second or third line therapy or as an additive product for patients not well controlled on their current regimen. According to the survey, the need for new phosphate binders and PTH modifiers is relatively high compared to the need for new ESA and IV iron therapies. Particularly in the phosphate binder market, there are a number of important product attributes where current products fall short, making room for potential new product entrants.

In the PTH modifier market, the Vitamin D products continue to try to differentiate. While Abbott's Zemplar performs significantly better than Genzyme's Hectorol on almost every product attribute, Nephrologists perceive room for improvement for both products in a number of areas including hypercalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, and impact on calcification. Although these are areas where Amgen's Sensipar has a competitive advantage, Sensipar's reimbursement and tolerability profile, as well as the fact that Nephrologists continue to reserve it for patients with extremely elevated PTH, seems to hold it back from being used in more than one-third of hemodialysis patients. In the oral Vitamin D market, Q209 marked the first quarter where Abbott's Zemplar capsules saw a year over year decrease in market share. Hectorol PO also declined year over year, but together these newer analogues still account for roughly half of the CKD patient share while calcitriol remains the market share leader.

The next wave of TreatmentTrends(R): US Nephrology will field in late August in tandem with surveys directed at two ancillary renal care audiences, Anemia Managers and Renal Dietitians.

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