Bristol gets ozanimod nod, but future is less certain


Bristol-Myers Squibb's ozanimod, now trademarked Zeposia, was thought likely to creep into the top 10 best-selling relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis drugs of 2024, EvaluatePharma consensus shows. However, these sellside forecasts were made before the coronavirus-induced global lockdown, and Bristol said it would hold off launching the product. Zeposia was always going to struggle to carve out share in a hugely competitive market, and Bristol will not be the only drug company reconsidering launch plans right now. Perhaps more concerning is the potential impact the pandemic might have on studies being conducted to move ozanimod into other autoimmune conditions; analysts expect around half of the drug's 2024 sales, of $966m, to come from uses outside MS. Four pivotal studies in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are technically open for recruitment, although new patient enrolment is surely stalled for now. Holders of the Celgene CVR, meanwhile, might be celebrating the first box to payout being ticked, but Bluebird's statement today, warning of clinical delays, should give them pause. The partnered Car-T project bb21217 must also win a US green light by March 2021 for a payout to happen; Bluebird needs to stick to its promise that a filing will happen soon. 

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