UCB touts another psoriasis win, this time over Cosentyx, as they look to break into packed market
Long a quiet player in the R&D game, UCB made a splash last fall when they announced that their experimental psoriasis drug bimekizumab had defeated J&J’s blockbuster Stelara in a Phase III trial. It was the first of three Phase IIIs meant to launch the candidate into a crowded market dominated by some of the industry’s biggest drugmakers. The second announcement came two months later with a win over AbbVie’s Humira.
Now UCB has released the last of those trials: a win over Novartis’s Cosentyx. The drugmaker didn’t disclose the details but said that bimekizumab has proven superior to the Novartis antibody in getting patients to full skin clearance within 16 weeks. It also met all secondary endpoints.
Cosentyx blocks interleukin-17F, one of the IL-17 cytokines involved in psoriasis. The idea behind bimekizumab was that by blocking both interleukin 17s involved in psoriasis — IL-17F and IL-17A — you could have a stronger effect. The latest trial helped confirm that idea, said trial investigator Richard Warren.
“The results mark the latest positive data readout for bimekizumab, confirming the hypothesis that targeting IL-17F, in addition to IL-17A, suppresses inflammation to a greater extent than IL-17A inhibition alone in psoriasis,” Warren said in a statement.
The results will boost UCB’s prospects when it heads to regulators, and, ultimately, with payers and doctors if it hits the market.
The data don’t, however, seal a place atop the market, which is crowded with other new drugs. UCB may have beaten out Cosentyx and AbbVie’s Humira, but AbbVie has a new drug, Skyrizi, and that also beat out Cosentyx in a recent Phase III trial. J&J has a new drug, called Tremfya, and Eli Lilly won approval last year for Taltz, another IL-17 antibody.
UCB has not said when they plan to file an NDA.