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AbbVie posts strong psoriasis data but can it stand out from crowd?

Published on 05/12/17 at 09:37am

AbbVie revealed that its IL-23 inhibitor, risankizumab, had successfully met all of its endpoints in a Phase 3 trials into the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The results are promising but the question remains whether it can play catch-up in an already crowded market?

Only a few weeks ago, Johnson & Johnson had scored European Commission approval for Tremfya, after already having achieved a nod from the FDA in July for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

J&J is not AbbVie’s only competitor in the fiercely fought area, with Novartis’ Cosentyx and Eli Lilly’s Taltz, both IL-17 inhibitors, already on the market and having snared several indications each.

Despite this, the data release by AbbVie shows potential its therapy achieved strong results in patients; the first phase of the study met its co-primary endpoints of at least 90% improvement in the Psoriasis and Severity Index (PASI 90) and a static Physician Global Assessment (sPGA) score of clear or almost clear (sPGA 0/1) versus placebo; in the second phase of this study, the primary endpoint of sPGA 0/1 at week 52 (one year) was also met.

“These positive results are consistent with the previous data we have seen with risankizumab throughout the pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial program,” said Michael Severino, Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific officer, AbbVie. “With a significant portion of risankizumab patients achieving high levels of skin clearance, these results add to the data supporting risankizumab's potential to be an impactful new treatment option for patients living with psoriasis. We look forward to sharing additional data from the pivotal trial program with the scientific community and regulatory authorities as we prepare to move forward with global regulatory submissions.”

The next step for AbbVie will be finding a way to carve its own space in the market. How it will do this remains to be seen but it could find an example from its direct IL-23 inhibitor competitor, J&J Tremfya.

J&J is currently holding a Phase 3 trial directly comparing the efficacy of Tremfya against market leader Cosentyx. If Tremfya can show superiority then it has the potential to become a blockbuster treatment for J&J.

This could be the next step for AbbVie, which will be hoping that its treatment can recover from the inevitable decline of its mega-blockbuster, Humira.

Ben Hargreaves

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