What Drives Sarepta Therapeutics' Growth

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What Drives Sarepta Therapeutics' Growth PART 1 OF 4

Sarepta Focuses on Increasing Adoption of Genetic Testing

Genetic testing and patient demand

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) has been focusing on creating awareness among physicians, caregivers of DMD (Duchenne muscular dystrophy) patients, and other healthcare providers about the importance of genetic testing, a key factor in the rapid identification of DMD patients with mutations amenable to exon 51 skipping. Sales of Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), used to treat DMD patients, have risen in 2017, and the company is confident this trend will continue in future quarters with genetic testing.

Other biotechnology companies, especially those targeting the oncology segment such as Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Merck (MRK), and Pfizer (PFE), are also increasingly relying on genetic tests to increase their penetration in addressable markets.

The target patients for Exondys 51 are distributed across Medicaid and commercial plans. The company has continued to witness adoption of the drug across age groups, with the average age of patients using the drug being ~13 years. It is evident that both non-ambulatory and ambulatory DMD patients have been using Exondys 51 in 2017.

Whereas Sarepta had expected dropout rates of 20%–30%, the company saw rates in the single digits, which stabilized during the commercial launch period. Sarepta Therapeutics makes up about 1.6% of the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF’s (XBI) portfolio.

Sarepta Focuses on Increasing Adoption of Genetic Testing

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As shown in the above presentation, Sarepta Therapeutics’ US field force is well experienced and has played a pivotal role in multiple successful product launches. The strength of the commercial team has been instrumental in boosting sales of Exondys 51.

High compliance trends

In the initial stages of the commercial launch of Exondys 51, Sarepta Therapeutics reported that 40%–50% of eligible DMD patients were opting for installing a port beneath the skin before the first infusion session. The company expects this trend to continue in future years, highlighting the probability of high patient persistence and compliance rates for Exondys 51. This expectation is mainly attributed to the drug’s exceptional safety profile, home-based infusion mode of delivery, and targeted positioning by Sarepta Therapeutics. In the next article, we’ll discuss demand trends for Exondys 51 in greater detail.


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