- The FDA on Tuesday approved Eli Lilly's potential blockbuster psoriasis drug ixekizumab, giving the drugmaker an important win for its pipeline.
- Indicated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, Lilly's anti-IL17A monoclonal antibody will be entering a crowded and competitive market. Novartis' Cosentyx recently bested Johnson & Johnson's principal psoriasis drug Stelara in head-to-head trials and targets the same IL-17A protein.
- Ixekizumab will be marketed under the brand name Taltz in the U.S.
Eli Lilly has struggled to develop its pipeline recently. According to data from EP Vantage, 91% of its 2015 sales came from products over ten years old, a higher mark than many of its peers. The FDA's approval of ixekizumab gives the Indianapolis, Indiana-based company an entry into a lucrative, but competitive market.
Ixekizumab is administered via an injection, delivering antibodies which bind to the IL-17A protein and limit the inflammation behind plaque psoriasis. Since the drug affects the immune system, the FDA approved ixekizumab with a medication guide to inform patients of increased risk of infection or autoimmune conditions.
The psoriasis space has seen several new developments this year. Johnson & Johnson said last week that its mainstay Stelara had proved effective in treating Crohn's disease, potentially setting that drug up for a wider indication. Novartis' Cosentyx, the first anti-IL17A drug in the U.S., won an expanded indication for the treatment of anklylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis in January.