Kesimpta (ofatumumab), the first self-administered B-cell therapy to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), is now available via AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, one of the largest specialty and home delivery pharmacies operating in the U.S., to patients living in the country.
The specialty pharmacy — which focuses on serving patients with rare, chronic, and complex conditions — expressed its satisfaction when hearing that Novartis, the company that holds Kesimpta’s commercial rights, had selected it to distribute the medication.
“AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s number one priority is helping patients achieve the best possible results when managing their chronic or rare disease,” Tracey James, senior vice president of pharmacy services at AllianceRx, said in a press release.
“Our MS Connected Care clinical program engages and counsels patients about prescribed therapy and helps improve adherence and outcomes,” she added. “Manufacturers know our care team works closely with patients at every step of their care journey. Our commitment to patient outcomes is one of the reasons manufacturers partner with us.”
Originally co-developed by Genmab and Novartis, Kesimpta was recently approved to treat three types of relapsing MS in adults, including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting MS and active secondary progressive MS.
The therapy uses an antibody that specifically recognizes CD20, a protein found on the surface of immune B-cells, which are thought to be one of the major drivers of inflammation in MS. Although its mechanism of action is still not fully understood at this point, Kesimpta is thought to work by lowering the number of these pro-inflammatory B-cells.
According to Novartis, Kesimpta is the first approved MS therapy targeting B-cells that can be taken at home via an under-the-skin (subcutaneous) injection, using an autoinjector pen, once a month. Other B-cell-targeting therapies used in MS are typically given at hospitals or infusion treatment centers, a limitation that raises healthcare costs and can be burdensome to patients.
Of note, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime offers disease-specific Connected Care clinical programs — including the MS Connected Care clinical program — that help specialty pharmacists proactively engage with patients about their disorder, treatment, and overall health. The goal is to offer support and identify treatment barriers and potential side effects.
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