- In a 52-week head-to-head trial in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis, Novartis' Cosentyx proved more effective in clearing skin for a sustained period compared to Janssen's Stelara, Novartis said over the weekend.
- This positive data follows the FDA approving two new indications for Cosentyx, expanding its label to include anklylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis.
- First approved in January 2015, Cosentyx is an IL-17A inhibitor for moderate-to-severe psoriasis. It was approved in Europe for ankylsing spiondylitis and psoriatic arthritis last November.
Psoriasis and its related immunologic diseases, AS and PsA, are high prevalence conditions, affecting up to 1% of the population. Until the introduction of IL-17 inhibitors, TNF-inhibitors had been the mainstay treatment. However, up to 40% of patients with psoriasis are non-responsive to biologics.
The introduction of anti-IL17 Stelara in 2009 changed the treatment landscape for psoriasis dramatically. But other companies are building up their portfolio in the psoriasis space. Most recently, AbbVie paid Boehringer Ingelheim $595 million upfront to gain access to its IL-23 inhibitor, which also treats psoriasis.
Even as Stelara continues to generate solid earnings for Janssen (Q4 2015 earnings were $545 million, up 30.7%), Cosentyx's sales are rapidly accelerating. Analysts predicted mega-blockbuster status for Novartis' drug, anticipating sales of $4 billion to $5 billion by 2020.