May 25, 2022


Skillful Business Crafters

Can AbbVie Beat Pfizer in the Atopic Dermatitis Market?

Both AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) recently picked up regulatory approvals for JAK inhibitors for treating atopic dermatitis. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Jan. 19, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss whether AbbVie is likely to beat Pfizer in this large market.

Keith Speights: Right. Now, the FDA actually approved two JAK inhibitors as treatments for atopic dermatitis last week. In addition to Pfizer winning a green light for abrocitinib, AbbVie gained FDA approval for its JAK inhibitor, Rinvoq, in that same indication.

Abrocitinib, which Pfizer is going to market under the brand name Cibinqo, and Rinvoq will compete head-to-head against each other. They will also compete against Regeneron‘s (NASDAQ:REGN) and Sanofi‘s (NASDAQ:SNY) Dupixent.

Which of these newcomers, Cibinqo or Rinvoq, do you think is more likely to be the bigger winner against Dupixent in the atopic dermatitis market?

Brian Orelli: Yeah. AbbVie’s Rinvoq appears to have maybe slightly better efficacy than Pfizer’s Cibinqo. It’s hard to tell because they’re not a head-to-head to clinical trial, but based on the competitors, it seems like Rinvoq might be slightly better on the efficacy side.

We also have a more extensive database of safety that isn’t as, and sorry to say that it’s actually more safe, it’s just that they have more evidence that it’s safe than Pfizer does. By those two measures, I think Rinvoq probably has the advantage here.

Getting back to Dupixent, I’m not sure if the new JAK inhibitors are really that big of a competitor against Dupixent. If doctors are following the FDA recommendations merged with patients’ preferences, they’ll likely go from topical medications, which are generally generics. Those are cheap and they’re easy to take and they’re topicals, so that’s helpful because they’re not systemic. Doctors are less worried about them causing other problems in other parts of the body.

Then you’d go on Dupixent because, although it doesn’t necessarily work as well as the TNF inhibitors or JAK inhibitors, but it’s an oral medication. Then if that didn’t work, then you probably go on a TNF inhibitor, and then if that didn’t work, then you’d go on a JAK inhibitor. I don’t think the JAK inhibitors with their current labels are probably going to affect Dupixent sales all that much.

Although as we talked about in the last segment, it probably depends a lot on doctors’ preferences and whether they would go off label and potentially try the JAK inhibitors before the TNF inhibitors. But even then, I think they probably would try Dupixent first and then if Dupixent isn’t working, then try the JAK inhibitors. I’m not sure that the JAK inhibitors coming on the market really affects Dupixent’s sales all that much.

Speights: Atopic dermatitis is a big market and as you said, if one drug doesn’t work as well for a given patient then they can switch to another drug. So there’s room in this market, I think, for AbbVie and Pfizer to have successes but I think you’re right. I don’t think either one of these products is going to really touch Dupixent in terms of overall sales.

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