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Lilly psoriasis drug beats J&J's Tremfya in head-to-head trial

Shifting expectations in psoriasis outcomes

Lilly

Eli Lilly’s Taltz (ixekizumab) has outperformed Johnson & Johnson’s Tremfya (guselkumab) in a head-to-head post-marketing trial in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

The 1,027-subject trial found Taltz is better than Tremfya at achieving complete clearance of the skin lesions that affect psoriasis patients, resulting in the study hitting its primary endpoint.

Taltz also outperformed Tremfya against a range of secondary endpoints that tracked the proportion of patients to experience 75% and 90% declines in lesions early in the 12-week trial, plus the number of participants whose skin was completely clear well before the end of the study.

"Head-to-head data like this is important and will help inform individual treatment goal discussions between healthcare providers and their patients," said Andrew Blauvelt, president of Oregon Medical Research Center.

The clean sweep of primary and major secondary endpoints paints Taltz in a good light, although Lilly is yet to quantify how much better its drug was than Tremfya. Lilly plans to share the data from the study at upcoming scientific meetings and in journal publications.

Even without those additional details, the results deliver a boost to a drug that was already on an upward trajectory. Taltz generated sales of $606m over the first half of the year, suggesting full-year revenues will beat the $938m it made last year and establish the drug as a blockbuster.

J&J has similar aspirations for Tremfya. Sales of Tremfya, which came to market a year after Taltz in 2017, totalled $452m over the first half of 2019, adding weight to analyst predictions that the drug is a blockbuster in waiting.

A successful head-to-head trial against Novartis’ Cosentyx (secukinumab) established Tremfya as a contender in the congested field of psoriasis drugs, but it may now be saddled with the unfavourable comparison to Taltz.

The drugs are collectively contributing to a shift in expectations for psoriasis outcomes. AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) and J&J’s Stelara (ustekinumab) became, and remain, big selling drugs partly on the strength of their ability to quickly clear up to 75% of lesions in most patients.

Lilly brought Taltz to market using data showing it clears 90% of lesions in more than two-thirds of patients within 12 weeks. Two-fifths of patients in the pivotal trial experienced complete clearance of skin lesions.

Article by
Nick Taylor

14th August 2019

From: Research

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