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Patient Viewpoints: Qualitative Research “One-on-ones”

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Peter Lio, MD, explores the impact of atopic dermatitis on patient quality of life and how it shapes current and future treatment satisfaction.

Peter Lio, MD: Hello, and welcome to this Partner Perspectives video series. I'm Dr. Peter Lio, and I'm a clinical assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. I'm also the founding director of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center and the founding partner of Medical Dermatology Associates of Chicago. In this series, I'm going to be talking about patient perspectives and satisfaction with atopic dermatitis treatments. This video is sponsored by ASLAN Pharmaceuticals and its content was developed for, directed by, and presented on behalf of ASLAN Pharmaceuticals.

Today, we're going to take a deeper dive into some proprietary market research by ASLAN Pharmaceuticals. The purpose of this research was to gain up-to-date insights from the patient perspective, to understand the impact on quality of life, and to help uncover unmet needs in patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis.

On the qualitative side, we'll be exploring findings from in-depth interviews with 12 patients of varied patient demographics and treatment history. In the next video, we will explore the design and methodology of a quantitative conjoint study among 83 additional patients to derive statistical data on their disease and get insight on their relationships with their current and ideal treatment modalities. And in our final video, we will review what this data may mean for new therapies being developed and for clinical trial designs and impactful endpoints in the future.

Earlier this year, ASLAN conducted twelve 45-minute in-depth blinded interviews with patients diagnosed with moderate to severe AD. Qualitative patient insights were gathered around key unmet needs, the perception of current and past treatments, and feedback on a hypothetical new biologic. Patients varied in demographics based on age, gender, and the type of HCP they see. Eight of the 12 patients had moderate disease and the others had severe disease. More than half of patients had been treated with a biologic, some of whom lapsed. Three patients had not received biologic treatment or they received an oral JAK inhibitor instead.

These interviews revealed that the AD patients in the sample report a significant impact on quality of life and are only somewhat satisfied with current available treatments, highlighting a clear unmet need for a new effective AD therapy.

None of the patients were highly satisfied with their current treatment because they do not fully address the patient's itch and skin irritation and inflammation needs. Only approximately 60% of the patients were even moderately satisfied with their current treatment, moderately defined as a rating of 5 or 6. In fact, the average satisfaction score with their current treatment across all patient segments was reported as only 4.1 out of seven. And that scale went from 1, which was very unsatisfied, to 7, very satisfied.

Patients also specifically noted the use of topical corticosteroids or other topicals in addition to current treatment. However, they would like a systemic treatment to reduce the need for topical use by 50% to 90%. Two patients cited auto-injector pens as very painful and would prefer a pre-filled syringe to control the injection more. This feedback is very consistent with what I'm seeing in my own clinical practice.

When it comes to treatment preferences, the interviews revealed that less frequent dosing appears to be a preferred product attribute for patients, despite it missing from current biologics, which are typically dosed one injection every 2 weeks. As we can see, greater than 40% of patients preferred a less frequent Q4 week dosing schedule. However, all patients would accept Q2 week dosing if it delivered better efficacy. 75% of current biologic users, N equals 4, preferred two injections every 4 weeks, over one injection every 2 weeks. In fact, one of the patients was quoted as saying, quote, I'm okay with either, but I think I would go with option one. I think there's a lot of convenience that comes along with that, unquote.

With all this in mind, let's now take a look at how the patients felt about a hypothetical new biologic. Patients were informed that this drug delivered visible results within 1 to 2 weeks, improved sleep and reduced fatigue, while also reducing itch and the number of flare ups.There's no blood monitoring requirement for this drug and no serious side effects.

Even with just these incremental benefits, around 70% of all patients reported high willingness to switch to this hypothetical new biologic. Some of the quotes that stood out to me were, quote, 1 to 2 weeks is a most favorable timeframe compared to other medications, unquote. Or another patient who said, I'm very willing to switch for the fact that it specifically calls out improving sleep and reducing fatigue. These really comport well with my clinical experience.

Finally, the patients were asked to do a creative exercise and plot their current treatment and the hypothetical biologic on a target map, the center being the bull's eye where their ideal treatment would land. As you can see, no treatment really hit the bull's eye, but a few did come close with the hypothetical biologic coming just a bit closer to the bull's eye.

So what were the patients’ ideal attributes? Well, we can see that efficacy was very important, with clearer skin and fewer symptoms within 2 weeks. Safety, ideally having no side effects, but importantly, not requiring any blood monitoring. Dosing, to be taken once per month and something that's easy to administer. In fact, about half the patients preferred an oral medicine while half preferred an injection. Logistics and access, patients were looking for something that was easy to access and store with a long shelf life. And of course, it has to be accessible so relative affordability was also really important.

Thank you for watching. In the next video, we’ll look at the results from the quantitative study. Stay tuned!

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