- Eli Lilly's Taltz has bested AbbVie's Humira in a head-to-head study in patients with active psoriatic arthritis who haven't previously received a biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug, also known as a DMARD.
- At 24 weeks, Taltz proved superior to Humira as measured by the proportion of patients who saw their disease activity cut in half as well as complete skin clearance. Data from the study will be submitted to scientific meetings and peer-reviewed journals during 2019.
- The open-label Phase 3b/4 SPIRIT-H2H study, according to Lilly, is the first head-to-head study to use on-label dosing for both drugs, as well as including concomitant conventional DMARDs.
Lilly's Taltz (ixekizumab) secured approval for psoriatic arthritis about a year ago, following an initial approval for plaque psoriasis in March 2016.
Those two indications pit Taltz against a number of rival biologics, including Novartis' Cosentyx (secukinumab), which is also an IL-17 targeting monoclonal antibody.
Cosentyx has had a year's head-start on that market and recorded sales growth of 35% year over year in the third quarter to push its total to $750 million during the period. Taltz has grown strongly too, but sales reached only $264 million from July to September.
AbbVie's Humira (adalimumab), as the world's top-selling drug, hasn't felt the competitive effects from Taltz and Cosentyx too strongly. But the data showing Taltz's superiority to Humira could help Lilly catch up with Novartis' Cosentyx.
For its part, Novartis has launched superiority studies testing Cosentyx against Humira and Humira biosimilars in ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.
Lilly is also looking to ankylosing spondylitis. There, Taltz has positive topline data from a late-stage COAST-V study that pitted it against Humira and placebo. Lilly's drug met the trial's primary and key secondary endpoints, though a company statement did not detail its activity against Humira.
Taltz is under regulatory review for radiographic axial spondyloarthritis and in Phase 3 for non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis, according to Lilly's pipeline.