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AZ/Amgen report positive data with psoriasis antibody

Brodalumab shows efficacy in achieving and maintaining clear skin
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Amgen and AstraZeneca (AZ) are set to present positive phase II data on their antibody drug brodalumab in psoriasis later today.

Brodalumab is a human monoclonal antibody targeting the interleukin-17 (IL-17) receptor that AZ licensed from Amgen last year in a deal involving four drugs for inflammatory disease and with upfront fees of around $50m.

AZ and Amgen are scheduled to present trial data at the ongoing Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) in Istanbul, Turkey, that shows that brodalumab met a range of efficacy objectives, according to Amgen's head of R&D Sean Harper.

The results revealed that many patients on brodalumab were "achieving and maintaining total skin clearance", he added. AZ and Amgen started three phase III trials of brodalumab in moderate to severe psoriasis a year ago and the drug is also in phase II testing for psoriatic arthritis and asthma.

The two companies are in a race with Lilly and Novartis to bring an anti-IL17 drug to market.

Novartis' secukinumab has already completed a phase III study in which it performed better than the top-selling biologic treatment for psoriasis - Amgen's $8.7bn TNF blocker Enbrel (etanercept) - while Lilly's ixekizumab  has also shown promise in phase II trials reported last year and is also in phase III.

All three antibodies have been tipped to become $2bn to $3bn-a-year blockbusters if their initial promise is fulfilled and depending on whether they end up being reserved for use after TNF inhibitors or as first-line agents for psoriasis.

The ultimate potential of the drugs could also depend on how successful other new psoriasis candidates are, particularly orally-active agent such as Pfizer's Xeljanz (tofacitinib), which is already approved for rheumatoid arthritis in the US and could be established in psoriasis before the IL17 inhibitors are ready for launch.

Article by
Phil Taylor

4th October 2013

From: Research

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