FDA approves Bayer's autoinjector for MS drug
- BETACONNECT is the first and only autoinjector for Betaseron (interferon beta-1b), which is used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
- Betaseron was approved 22 years ago and will go off patent tin 2016.
- Of the 400,000 people in the U.S. with M.S., approximately 320,000 have RRMS at original diagnosis.
At a time when Bayer is facing loss of patent protection for Betaseron, a blockbuster drug with sales in excess of $1 billion, it is also facing competition from new oral MS treatments, such as Biogen's Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate). A major challlenge with a drug such as Betaseron, which does have positive therapuetic outcomes, is the inconvenience of having to use an injectable. Betaconnect is designed to make that process easier.
With Betaconnect, patients have access to customizable injection depth and speed settings. In addition, the autoinjector is quiet and easy to use, with automatic needle insertion and retraction functions. Another major plus: Audio and visual indicators are provided to signify that a dose has been administered.
The question is whether or not the availability of Betaconnect will help reverse dampening sales, especially as the drug loses patent protection. Maybe not, but undoubtedly, many patients will welcome and benefit from Betaconnect.