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Abarca and Biogen Sign Value-Based Reimbursement Contract for MS Therapies

August 1, 2017

Abarca Health, a pharmacy benefit management and tech firm, helps clients manage their pharmaceutical spending by developing partnerships with health plans, government programs, union groups, and other payers. Recently, Abarca has signed a value-based reimbursement contract with Biogen for select products in its multiple sclerosis (MS) portfolio. This is the first time such an agreement applies outcomes-based contracts to cover Medicaid patients in the United States.

“We are excited to partner with Biogen in implementing this innovative, data-driven and outcomes-based pricing program for MS drug therapies, Javier Gonzalez, Abarca’s chief operating officer, said in a press release. “We believe this program is a significant milestone in our efforts to collaborate with pharmaceutical manufacturers to find a better way to guide patients and payers down the path to value, especially in high-impact disease categories.”

Biogen has recently completed a Phase 2b clinical trial (NCT01864148) of its remyelination drug candidate opicinumab. The trial was published in the study, “Efficacy Results from the Phase 2b SYNERGY Study: Treatment of Disabling Multiple Sclerosis with the Anti-LINGO-1 Monoclonal Antibody Opicinumab.” It found that opacinumab triggered remyelination by preventing the actions of LINGO-1 — a factor that suppresses myelination and axonal regeneration. Overall, patients receiving intermediate doses seemed to benefit most from the treatment. Even though the trial did not meet its primary goal, Biogen doesn’t accept this as the end of the road for opicinumab and said it now plans to move forward with more trials.