BioDelivery Sciences (NSDQ:BDSI) is a specialty pharmaceutical company that last year achieved a 617% growth rate, as shown in Deloitte’s 2020 Technology Fast 500 Rankings. The company is focused on meeting unmet needs of patients with chronic conditions.
We interviewed Scott Plesha, the company’s president and chief commercial officer, to learn more about the company. In the following interview, Plesha touches on chronic pain management’s future and provides an overview of BioDelivery Science’s current product lineup and reflects on the healthcare ecosystem’s return to more-normal operations.
Pharmaceutical Processing World: Can you share some thoughts about the future of chronic pain management and the role that BioDelivery Sciences (BDSI) will play in it?
Plesha: We want the future of chronic pain management to include a greater understanding of chronic pain. That would entail all health professionals recognizing that chronic pain is a complex and serious condition, patients with chronic pain feeling comfortable having honest conversations with their medical providers about their individual situations, and patients knowing that they have options. At BDSI, we plan to continue to offer solutions and support to both medical professionals and patients with our patients-first philosophy. We believe advocating for patients — as a voice for awareness and change — is an integral part of helping people make the most of their lives.
Pharmaceutical Processing World: What led you to become president & chief commercial officer of BioDelivery Sciences?
Plesha: BDSI is a specialty pharmaceutical company that has been poised for rapid growth. I knew that I could build upon its solid business fundamentals and strong product momentum to help implement its future strategy. The executive leadership team has an outstanding record of execution and a strategic focus on growth, and I’m proud to serve alongside them in the president & chief commercial officer role. Most importantly, though, is that I joined a team of exceptional people with incredible talent who are all committed to making a difference in the lives of the 20 million people living with chronic pain.
Pharmaceutical Processing World: Could you give me a brief overview of BELBUCA and Symproic and how the company is positioning them?
Plesha: BELBUCA (buprenorphine buccal film) contains buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. BELBUCA is indicated for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate. Full prescribing information for BELBUCA is available online.
BELBUCA’s growth can be attributed to several factors, including successful commercial execution that continues to generate strong adoption by healthcare providers. We’ve been adding many new prescribers for each of the last six quarters, and we have a history of consistent growth across all payer types.
Additionally, there’s a growing policy acceptance for buprenorphine. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Task Force recommends buprenorphine treatment be included in third-party payer and hospital formularies and be considered for primary use, rather than use only after failure of standard mu-agonist opioids.
Symproic (naldemedine) is an opioid antagonist indicated for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC) in adult patients with chronic non-cancer pain, including patients with chronic pain related to prior cancer or its treatment who do not require frequent (e.g., weekly) opioid dosage escalation. Full prescribing information for Symproic can be found here.
Symproic carries the highest recommendation in its class from the American Gastroenterological Association. We’ve continued to build a strong prescriber base, and the product has a history of strong growth and favorable formulary coverage.
Pharmaceutical Processing World: If in-person medical visits begin to return to normal in 2H 2021, as many analysts expect, how do you expect a more-normal healthcare environment to influence your business?
Plesha: We expect that returning to a more-normal healthcare environment may expand the number of patients seeking treatment and ultimately increase the number we can help. At the same time, we believe that telehealth is an important option for those patients who need it, and it may offer greater access to care. We will continue to advocate for chronic pain patients in any type of future healthcare environment.
Pharmaceutical Processing World: The company acquired Symproic from Shionogi in 2019. What are some of the core factors you will look for when considering expanding your product portfolio?
Plesha: As we did when we acquired Symproic, when considering expanding our portfolio, we look for therapies that have the potential to fulfill true unmet needs for patients. Our goal is to provide innovative treatment options that healthcare professionals can feel confident using in their approach to make real, meaningful, and positive differences in patients’ lives.