ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis said on Friday its experimental psoriasis drug Cosentyx was better at clearing the rough skin patches associated with the disease than Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara.
Results of the late-stage Phase IIIb study involving 679 patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis found those taking Cosentyx achieved clear or almost clear skin after 16 weeks of treatment.
On a secondary measure, patients achieved at least a 75 percent improvement in disease severity at week four.
Plaque psoriasis is a painful and unsightly skin condition which is known to cause itching and scaling and affects approximately 125 million people.
The data follows results last year showing Cosentyx, also known as secukinumab, was superior to Amgen’s Embrel in a head-to-head study.
Cosentyx is expected to be the first in a clutch of new treatments for plaque psoriasis which target the inflammation-causing protein interleukin-17 (IL-17) to gain market approval.
European regulators gave the green light to the drug last month, while an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended the use of the drug.
Other drugmakers working on new treatments include Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Amgen.
Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Potter