Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in

Novartis' omalizumab effective in chronic skin disease

Study backs extended use of asthma treatment Xolair

Novartis building 

Novartis' allergic asthma treatment Xolair could find a new role as a treatment for an allergic skin disease after encouraging results in a phase III trial.

The active ingredient in Xolair (omalizumab) has been found to be effective as a treatment for a chronic and debilitating form of hives known as chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) in the study, reinforcing the findings of two earlier trials.

Novartis filed for approval of omalizumab a few weeks ago as a treatment for CSU, which is known as chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) in the US and has no approved treatment other than antihistamines. Current treatment generally has limited efficacy and often has to be given in very high doses to control symptoms.

The latest trial - called ASTERIA 1 - showed that patients treated with omalizumab had significantly less itching and reported improved quality of life compared to the placebo group, with benefits seen as early as one week after starting treatment. The alleviation of itch was sustained over 24 weeks, according to Novartis.

Omalizumab has already been a useful earner for Novartis for some time, with the Xolair asthma product posting sales of $289m in the first six months of the year, a 21 per cent increase on the same period of 2012.

Novartis has not suggested how much upside approval in CSU could have for the omalizumab franchise, although the company's head of pharmaceuticals David Epstein said earlier this year it is likely to be "substantial".

"This is a disease that is not well known by many, but devastating for patients," he said during the company's second-quarter results call.

"These patients … have severe itching [and] have angioedema. They very often cannot work and live in constant fear of unexpected attacks," noted Epstein.

He also pointed out that omalizumab sits well alongside Novartis' new psoriasis candidate secukinumab as the foundations of an interesting dermatology franchise.

Article by
Phil Taylor

7th October 2013

From: Research



Featured jobs

Subscribe to our email news alerts


Add my company
Packer Forbes Communications

Packer Forbes is an award-winning independent healthcare communications consultancy. Our integrated approach ensures that our clients benefit from a compelling...

Latest intelligence

What is a patient-centric brand anyway?
It’s hard to believe that in our industry, there have been ongoing rumblings about patient-centricity for years now. Sure, there are some great companies who have worked hard to bring...
‘Less Is More: Making Patient-Centered Digital Communication a Reality’
Letizia Affinito writes on the Gower Publishing blog....
The Seven Cs Of Cross-Functional Brand Planning
As more and more organisations have moved to cross-functional and cross-regional involvement in the development of their strategic and operational brand plans, the result has been greater engagement and alignment,...