A few months after Urovant's Gemtesa made its debut, Sunovion is joining the sales and marketing effort.
Urovant will continue to promote the overactive bladder drug to specialty and long-term care doctors, while Sunovion is taking the message to primary care physicians.
The deal with Sunovion—which, like Urovant, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma—extends Gemtesa's reach beyond specialty venues. And part of the deal puts the drug first in line when Sunovion sales reps meet with doctors, said Walt Johnston, Urovant's executive VP of commercial.
We’ve worked hard to make sure the overlap is driven by the OAB marketplace,” Johnston said, adding that Gemtesa as the first detail is important “so we know it’s going to get all the detail it needs with those key targets."
Thomas Gibbs, senior VP and chief commercial officer of Sunovion, said the Gemtesa deal doesn't just add a new product to the company's lineup. It also helps Sunovion “bridge our commercial capabilities from our current portfolio to our future portfolio.”
For instance, in CNS, where Sunovion is exploring indications in agitation in Alzheimer's disease and major depressive order, upwards of 70% of branded scripts are written by primary care doctors, Gibbs said
For now, Sunovion sales reps will focus on Gemtesa alongside epilepsy medication Aptiom. The pharma's analysis found high overlap with doctors who prescribe meds in those two areas, Gibbs said. Sunovion also markets Latuda to treat bipolar depression and Kynmobi in Parkinson’s disease.
While Gemtesa’s unfolding launch focuses on specialty and now primary care physicians, it does include an early unbranded campaign, “Bladder Chatter,” with a community website and resources. Urovant is also promoting Gemtesa in digital and social media, including search engine promos, as well as Facebook and Instagram.
To keep the partnership on track, Johnston and Gibbs lead a governance committee created nine months ago as the partners headed toward the Gemtesa approval and launch. They most recently held a Gemtesa launch meeting, both in-person and virtual, for the Sunovion reps.
More than 33 million people over the age of 40 have overactive bladder disorder, which affects women more often than men. Gemtesa's target demographic is women aged 50-plus. Analysts figure the drug can hit peak sales of $1.25 billion to $1.6 billion.
Gemtesa's chief rival, the Astellas drug Myrbetriq, launched in 2012. Other drugs in the category include now-off-patent anticholinergic meds, such as Detrol and Vesicare.