ZADAXIN® (thymalfasin) is a synthetic version of thymosin alpha 1, a substance found naturally in the circulation and produced in the body’s thymus gland. ZADAXIN stimulates the immune system to better fight infectious diseases and cancers. It is this ability to act as an immune system enhancer that makes it a promising therapy for such a wide variety of clinical conditions. ZADAXIN is approved in over 30 countries worldwide for several different clinical indications, and may be used for the treatment of hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and certain cancers, and as an immune system enhancer, according to the approvals we have in these countries.
Introduced to the China market in 1996, ZADAXIN continues to be a major growth driver for our company. Today, utilization of the product is mainly in oncology indications and chronic hepatitis, and demand in these markets remains strong. We continue to anticipate growth opportunities for ZADAXIN in the indications for which it is currently approved as well as in potential new indications. We believe that the therapeutic areas of hepatitis B and sepsis continue to represent growth areas for ZADAXIN, and are continuing to implement academic marketing strategies to deepen market penetration.
In the HBV market, which represents a very large commercial opportunity for ZADAXIN, we are deploying a medical education-focused strategy. This includes mobilizing our MSLs to directly interface with physicians to discuss the data supporting the use of the drug in HBV, and highlight the benefits of our product within the thymalfasin class. We are also hosting symposia with physicians, for which they can get CME credit, in a medical education environment which focuses on the data supporting the use of ZADAXIN in HBV. Additionally, we are cultivating the support of key opinion leaders in HBV, and creating an extensive ZADAXIN utilization database in China, including data in different HBV patient populations, that we believe will be highly informative about the product’s therapeutic benefits.
In the area of sepsis, we are undertaking similar medical education initiatives, carried out by our MSLs and directed to physicians and key opinion leaders. In these discussions, our MSLs are citing the encouraging results from the completed sepsis trial in China, and informing physicians of the large Phase 3 trial in sepsis being implemented by China researchers, for which results should be available in about two years.
To build utilization further, we are working to open more channels to directly support physician prescribing outside of the typical hospital channel. We are utilizing tools and techniques to reach directly to patients after they leave the hospital setting, and can exercise more choice in their prescriptions.
For example, we are working with key players in our supply chain – most notably SinoPharm, our exclusive ZADAXIN importer – to leverage their channels that directly reach patients through their retail pharmacy network. In this way, we are keeping pace with a key market structural change, as patients increasingly purchase their prescriptions from retail pharmacies, rather than hospital pharmacies.
Market indicators suggest that traditional Chinese medicine is likely to remain a major market category for at least the next decade, underscoring ZADAXIN’s value as a proven product with a differentiated Western pedigree. In a highly competitive marketplace in which the generic companies have no differentiation based on quality, but can only compete on price, we are very pleased with the continued strength of ZADAXIN sales and maintenance of its leading market position. We believe that we can continue to achieve our goal of growing ZADAXIN in line with China pharma market growth, and potentially exceed that growth rate over the next several years.