Human Genome Sciences Inc Earnings Call Nuggets: J-Code and Benlysta

Human Genome Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:HGSI) reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.


Joseph Schwartz – Leerink Swann: So I was wondering I could talk about what you’ve noticed since the J-code has taken effect? It’s raised the visibility for the drug amongst the payors. So I’m wondering, have you experienced any push back request for increased documentation or justification for therapy in any patients?

H. Thomas Watkins – President and CEO: So I’ll have Barry take that one, Joe.

Barry A. Labinger – EVP and CCO: So, for anyone who doesn’t know, our product specific J-code was assigned by CMS late last year and went into effect January 1st. That’s for government payors and private payors have been uploading the J-code in the weeks since. So this is really helpful for us and that the product specific J-code removes a certain amount of manual operation and uncertainty on the backend of the process, so that physicians can be more certain about how quickly they’ll be reimbursed when they do infusions in their office. So we’re pleased to have that take place. Your question about raising the visibility and whether that’s triggering any increased requirements for documentation, I don’t think so – there as we get further into the launch more payors have more experience with BENLYSTA and coincidently start to think about how they want to implement reimbursement for BENLYSTA. Generally the environment is positive for us. Most plans are reimbursing for BENLYSTA fairly freely, consistent with our label. But on a one-off basis with individual physicians or individual patients, you’re always going to get some request for documentation and information. So I think we hear about that a little bit more as time goes on. I don’t think it’s associated with the J-code and overall the reimbursement environment is pretty positive.


Cory Kasimov – JPMorgan: You talked a lot about the end of period of trial and error for BENLYSTA, do you have evidence regarding I guess maybe the rough proportion of early adopters that started using BENLYSTA upon the launch that got through this trial mode and really started to accelerate use?

H. Thomas Watkins – President and CEO: Cory, I will take that question. We certainly haven’t seen widespread progression from trial to adoption, I think most accounts are still in the trial mode, gaining their experience and then as we know once rheumatologists come to a certain conclusion, it still takes some time for that translate into new patient selection and appear in our sales numbers. So, we are still in that mode for the majority of accounts. That said, there are certain segments that we have indentified and examples of accounts who have done just that. They started with two or three patients, they waited some number of months to see what the experience was, they liked what they saw and they started looking more broadly for new patients to put on therapy. I am sure you next question is exactly how many months is that and there just are not enough accounts that have gone through the process for us to be able to give any robust analytics on that, but we certainly have seen the process take effect. It just hasn’t been widespread enough to drive the overall growth trajectory yet.

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