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Novartis' Cosentyx off to a flyer in psoriasis

Year-to-date sales reach $140m for recently approved drug
Novartis

Predictions that Novartis will have a blockbuster on its hands with new psoriasis therapy Cosentyx look likely to come true.

The Swiss pharma giant said first-in-class interleukin-17 inhibitor Cosentyx (secukinumab) brought in $88m in the third quarter, the first time it has broken out sales figure since its launch in February.

Year-to-date sales came in at $140m, which Novartis said accounted for a market share of around 6% among biologic therapies for psoriasis.

Cosentyx is approved as a therapy for adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in the US, Europe and Japan, as well as for psoriatic arthritis in the latter market. The antibody has also just been recommended for psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in Europe - two indications also under review in the US - which if approved should add to its sales momentum.

Most of the sales to date have come from the US, as the drug only started to launch in Europe mid-year. Interestingly, the proportion of patients taking the drug who have never been on a biologic therapy before is around 20% in the US, but much higher (40%-50%) in Europe.

Novartis believes that is because formularies in the US often require patients to try an older drug before Cosentyx and - according to the firm's pharma head David Epstein - that means sales outside the US could be higher than anticipated.

"We continue to gain share, and we're getting very positive feedback from patients and clinicians," added Novartis' chief executive Joe Jimenez on a conference call this week to announce the company's third-quarter results, headlined by a 6% decline in sales to $12.3bn (an increase of 6% at constant currency rates).

Also making its first contribution to the company's top-line was heart failure Entresto (sacubitril and valsartan), another first-in-class therapy which added $16m in the quarter following its approval in the US in July.

The drug has now been approved in the US, Switzerland and Canada and has been recommended for approval in Europe. While tipped as a potential $5bn product.

Novartis believes that despite its clear clinical benefits Entresto will be something of a slow-burner, taking to longer to build momentum than Cosentyx because it will take longer to encourage doctors and payers to transition payments from older, cheaper drugs.

Article by
Phil Taylor

29th October 2015

From: Sales

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