Press release

January 16, 2020

February 2020 decisions expected from the FDA

Your snapshot of new drugs expecting an FDA decision in February 2020.


Prime works hard to prepare our clients to manage the new drugs that come on the market. Our clinical and trade relations teams keep a keen eye on drugs likely to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

2/1/2020: rimegepant Zydis® orally dissolving tablet (ODT) and tablet

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing Biohaven’s two applications for rimegepant ODT and tablet formation for acute treatment of migraines. Rimegepant is a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist. Biohaven demonstrated the safety and efficacy of rimegepant compared to placebo in three completed Phase 3 trials and a Phase 2b trial. Rimegepant met primary and secondary endpoints of relief from migraine pain and the most bothersome migraine-associated symptom compared with placebo.1 Biohaven is enrolling patients in a Phase 2 proof of concept trial. This will evaluate the safety and efficacy of rimegepant in patients with treatment-refractory trigeminal neuralgia.2 Similar products include Allergan’s Ubrelvy® (ubrogepant).

2/4/2020: empagliflozin, linagliptin and metformin XR

The FDA is reviewing Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s New Drug Application (NDA) for the triple combination tablet of empagliflozin, linagliptin and metformin extended release for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. Boehringer Ingelheim submitted clinical data from two randomized, open-label trials that found bioequivalence of empagliflozin, linagliptin and metformin XR combination tablets and their individual components in healthy adults.3 Similar products include Boehringer Ingelheim’s Glyxambi® (empagliflozin/linagliptin) tablet, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Jardiance® (empagliflozin) and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Tradjenta® (linagliptin).

2/16/2020: Twirla™ (ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel transdermal system)

Agile Therapeutics’s Twirla is being reviewed by the FDA as a low dose contraceptive patch. The patch is intended to optimize patch adhesion and patient wearablity. Agile Therapeutics conducted a comparative wear study. The primary endpoint for the study was the mean difference in adhesion scores between Twirla and Mylan’s Xulane® (ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin), the generic version of Ortho Evra®. No complete detachments of Twirla or Xulane occurred during the trial. Twirla demonstrated non-inferior adhesion to Xulane. In October 2019, the FDA’s Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee (BRUDAC) met to discuss Twirla. At the FDA’s request, Agile Therapeutics provided the FDA with additional information. The FDA then extended the PDUFA date from November 2019 to February 2020.4

2/21/2020: bempedoic acid

Esperion Therapeutics’ bempedoic acid is being reviewed by the FDA for the treatment of patients with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) who need additional LDL-C lowering despite the use of currently accessible therapies. Bempedoic acid is a non-statin oral once daily tablet. It is a first-in-class medication that lowers LDL-C by reducing cholesterol biosynthesis and up-regulating the LDL receptor. Completed Phase 3 studies demonstrated a significant reduction in LDL-C lowering compared to placebo in patients with or without concurrent use of statins.5 Esperion has initiated a global cardiovascular outcome trial (CVOT) to assess the effects of bempedoic acid on the occurrence of major cardiovascular events in patients with, or at high risk of, cardiovascular disease who are only able to tolerate less than the lowest approved daily starting dose of a statin and are considered statin averse.5 The CVOT, CLEAR, completed its enrollment August 2019. Similar products include Regeneron’s Praluent® (alirocumab) injection, and Amgen’s Repatha® (evolocumab) injection.

2/26/2020: bempedoic acid / ezetimibe

Esperion Therapeutics’ bempedoic acid/ezetimibe combination product is being reviewed by the FDA for the treatment of patients with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) who need additional LDL-C lowering despite the use of currently accessible therapies. Bempedoic acid / ezetimibe is a fixed dose tablet (180mg/10mg). Phase 3 data demonstrated that this combination tablet had a greater decrease in LDL-C and C-reactive protein (hsCRP) when compared with placebo.6 Similar products include Regeneron’s Praluent® (alirocumab), Amgen’s Repatha® (evolocumab), and Merck’s Zetia® (ezetimibe).

2/22/2020: eptinezumab

The FDA is reviewing Adler BioPharmaceuticals’ eptinezumab for migraine prevention. Eptinezumab is a monoclonal antibody, administered intravenously, targeting calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Adler BioPharmaceuticals published two Phase 3 clinical trials comparing eptinezumab to placebo. Both PROMISE 1 and PROMISE 2 met primary and secondary endpoints of decreasing monthly migraines over a 12-week treatment period.7 Similar products, all of which are available as subcutaneous injections, include Novartis’ Aimovig® (erenumab-aooe), Eli Lilly’s Emgality® (galcanezumab-gnlm), and Teva’s Ajovy® (fremanezumab-vfrm).

The drug pipeline is full of new drugs that may help members feel better and live well. Prime drug pipeline tracking helps keep you on top of drug trends, because it’s easier to manage change when you can see it coming.


1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/biohavens-positive-phase-3-trial-of-rimegepant-zydis-orally-dissolving-tablet-for-acute-treatment-of-migraine-published-in-the-lancet-300884415.html

2. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1689813/000168981319000055/a2019q2bhvnearningspre.htm

3. https://www.empr.com/home/news/drugs-in-the-pipeline/fda-to-review-triple-combination-tablet-for-type-2-diabetes/

4. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/11/14/1947637/0/en/Agile-Therapeutics-Announces-FDA-Extension-of-Twirla-NDA-Review-Period.html

5. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/10/25/1935745/0/en/Bempedoic-Acid-Included-in-Top-10-Medical-Innovations-for-2020-List.html

6. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191117005069/en/Bempedoic-Acid-Lowers-LDL-Cholesterol-Adversely-Impacting-Glycaemic

7. https://investor.alderbio.com/news-releases/news-release-details/us-food-and-drug-administration-accepts-biologics-license

While the information in this newsletter is from sources we believe to be reliable, we do not warrant that the information in this document is free from error. Use it only as a guide. Statements regarding drugs or manufacturers are not intended as promotion; those statements should not be used to make assumptions about formulary status. Each trademarked drug name is the property of its respective owner.


About Prime Therapeutics

Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime) makes health care work better by helping people get the medicine they need to feel better and live well. Prime provides total drug management solutions for health plans, employers, and government programs including Medicare and Medicaid. The company processes claims and offers clinical services for people with complex medical conditions. Prime serves more than 28 million people. It is collectively owned by 18 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, subsidiaries or affiliates of those plans.

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