Industry Insider is a timely chat with an ophthalmic industry thought leader.
Chief commercial officer talks Dexycu, Yutiq and more.
Scott Jones was named chief commercial officer of EyePoint Pharmaceuticals in June. In this role, he is in charge of commercializing two products: Dexycu, the single-dose, intracameral steroid used to treat postoperative inflammation, and Yutiq, a sustained-release fluocinolone implant used to treat noninfectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment. Mr. Jones has previously served as chief commercial officer of Notal Vision, president of QLT Ophthalmics and executive director, health policy, of Novartis.
Ophthalmology Management: You are in charge of commercializing Yutiq and Dexycu – how do you plan to do so?
Scott Jones: Our focus is on our overall communication strategy. There are a number of different players in our field, specifically in Dexycu’s market, so we want to make sure we give doctors and patients all the information they need to be comfortable with our products. It’s important to educate our customers on how our systems work, how the drug is being delivered and data that shows its effectiveness.
The interesting thing about bringing novel technology to the marketplace, though, is while there is a hurdle of educating everyone about why and how this new product is helpful, it is exciting to be involved in evolving the practice of medicine. For that reason, we need to make sure we’re holding the hand of all the players, providing that comfort and information, to make sure use of EyePoint products is as effective as it can be.
OM: Intracameral products like Dexycu are meant to improve compliance; how do you intend to convey that message?
SJ: It’s going to come down to educating doctors and patients; Dexycu is a novel product, so we need a team in place that understands what EyePoint brings to the table and can convey that to the public.
We need to discuss with doctors and patients how Dexycu delivers its medication to the site of inflammation, which I think is a key in giving doctors confidence that this will be effective for their patients.
Many studies have pointed to challenges with traditional eyedrops, for which efficacy is tied to patients’ adherence to their drop schedules and their drop technique. Products like Dexycu provide patients with confidence that this part of their treatment is being taken care of; as an added benefit, they have one fewer medication to call their physicians about if they can’t remember their drop schedule.
OM: Does EyePoint plan to make medications outside of the “single-dose” model used by Yutiq and Dexycu?
SJ: While these two technologies have been the basis of our company, EyePoint doesn’t see itself as just a drug delivery company but an ophthalmology company. We not only look for compounds that would fit our current delivery methods, but for unmet needs in ophthalmology where we can bring solutions to the marketplace.
Currently, we’re interested in looking at other ocular disease states, where we can have an impact on larger numbers of patients.
OM: Yutiq’s J-code became effective at the start of October. Why is this important to EyePoint and to ophthalmologists?
SJ: This code will allow CMS claims involving Yutiq to be quickly adjudicated, providing confidence that the product will be reimbursed in a much more timely manner and giving a major boost to our sales.
We’re really pleased with the CMS’ decision to move up the J-code’s implementation by one quarter. The reimbursements will start with Medicare then spread out to the broader payer community.
OM: What experience do you bring to EyePoint in your role as chief commercial officer?
SJ: Even beyond my experience with Notal, I’ve had the opportunity to bring a number of innovative technologies and patient solutions to the marketplace. This has given me an understanding of how difficult it can be to make even exciting, ground-breaking products available when they require customers to learn something new and different.
To effectively commercialize products in this space, one of the most important things is encouraging customers to change their routines. To do this, you need to establish the value proposition of your product, showing how it helps better treat patients and how the company will provide support with billing, coverage and education. You really need to convey confidence that you’re standing behind the products you’re bringing to market; efficacy won’t sell it alone, but it can open up those conversations with physicians. OM