Gaining the global rights to Jetrea from Novartis brought new responsibilities to Oxurion. Chief Commercial Officer Vinciane Vangeersdaele is setting up a full operational business unit to assure continuity of care for physicians and their patients. “Our flexible organization is a good fit to answer the specific needs of Jetrea users,” she notes.
Vinciane Vangeersdaele joined the Oxurion leadership team this past year. With extensive experience in commercializing pharmaceutical portfolios worldwide, including in ophthalmology, she was attracted by the company’s dedicated strategy in back of the eye diseases. “Driving innovation allows us to actually change patients’ lives,” she says. “Our strong focus should enable us to truly make a difference in bringing value to end users.”
“In this respect the Jetrea business case intrigues me. There is a group of physician customers who have stayed very loyal to this innovative product over the years. By using it with the right selected patients they have witnessed its value in treating symptomatic VMA/VMT. They also continue to investigate the drug’s potential and publish those data. Since the OASIS study there have been a lot of real-life, evidence-based publications on Jetrea. This shows the continuous interest in our product.”
Real world evidence
Vinciane Vangeersdaele says Oxurion is now investigating what drives retina specialists to use Jetrea for their patients. “That way we will show its potential with real world, user-based evidence. Over the years, users have continued to investigate and understand Jetrea. Real world evidence could help us further to understand if and how the drug stops the disease from progressing and preventing further vision loss in patients with sVMA/VMT.”
A key factor in producing strong outcomes with Jetrea is good patient selection. “This was clearly shown by the OASIS study with ocriplasmin, evaluating the drug in a two-year follow-up study. We want to build on these results to create a sustainable, long-term solution for physicians and their patients.”
Jetrea is now approved in over 50 countries and being used to treat nearly 30,000 patients. “In 18 countries the product is also reimbursed. With the evidence we’ve accumulated we’re now also preparing a reimbursement dossier in Belgium. This will be a landmark event, Oxurion being a Belgian company,” says Vinciane Vangeersdaele.
Regaining the global commercial rights to Jetrea from Novartis brought new responsibilities. “We are now setting up a full operational business unit to meet all the requirements for commercializing this product on a global scale: regulatory, supply chain, legal and commercial, etc.”
“Our first priority is ensuring a smooth transition for physicians and patients. As a smaller organization we should be able to adapt resources more flexibly to answer specific market needs,” adds Vinciane Vangeersdaele.
Local commercial teams are being set up in identified key countries. “We’re focusing on the existing markets. The commercial team in the US will be reinforced. Their insights in building long-term customer relationships will be invaluable. Other best practices from the past in countries like Germany, Italy or Canada will be leveraged more broadly.”
Oxurion will also launch the already diluted formulation of Jetrea in the second part of 2018. “This will make our product easier to administer, providing a more easy to use, fast and efficient solution to professionals,” says Vinciane Vangeersdaele.
Combining commercial and scientific know-how
Vinciane Vangeersdaele confirms the agreement with Novartis was a milestone for the company, not just for Jetrea. “We now truly have a global footprint. Commercializing the product worldwide will position us closer to our stakeholders, for both Jetrea and our drug development pipeline. Because in the end, we are offering solutions to the same population of physicians.”
Her ultimate aim is to bring market insights into early stages of the Oxurion clinical development portfolio. “I find it fascinating to work closely with the R&D department. The beauty of Oxurion is that we’re a true biotech company that has commercialized its own product. This brings us closer to the end user and makes us truly understand what the market needs. Combining scientific and commercial know-how will bolster Oxurion’s strategy for the future.”