Oct 1 An experimental biotech drug developed by
Johnson & Johnson proved more effective at clearing
moderate to severe cases of the skin condition plaque psoriasis
than a placebo or Abbvie Inc's big-selling Humira,
according to data from a late stage study presented on Saturday.
The J&J drug, guselkumab, met the trial's primary goal,
demonstrating statistically significant superior efficacy after
16 weeks of treatment and maintaining its advantage through week
48, the company said.
More than 73 percent of patients who received guselkumab
experienced near complete skin clearance compared with 2.9
percent those who received a placebo. In the Humira group,
nearly 50 percent of patients saw near complete skin clearance.
"These responses were durable and maintained through week
48," Dr. Andrew Blauvelt, lead researcher of the Phase III trial
from the Oregon Medical Research Center, said in a statement.
"Guselkumab also showed superior efficacy compared with
adalimumab, with a separation in responses that was evident at
week 16 and continued through the duration of the trial," added
Blauvelt, using the chemical name for Humira.
Humira, which also treats rheumatoid arthritis and other
autoimmune conditions, is the world's top-selling prescription
The J&J drug also scored higher than placebo or Humira in an
assessment of the treatment's effect on quality of life,
researchers reported. The data was presented at the European
Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress in
"The high and durable rates of response in skin clearance
were associated with significant improvements in quality of life
among patients treated with guselkumab," Professor Chris
Griffiths, a member of the study's steering committee, said in a
Serious adverse side effects, including some serious
infections, were reported in 2.4 percent of guselkumab patients,
1.8 percent of those who got Humira and 1.7 percent in the
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disorder
that results in sometimes painful, unsightly scaly and inflamed
skin patches. An estimated 125 million people worldwide have
psoriasis, including 7.5 million Americans, according to the
National Psoriasis Foundation.
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York; Editing by Matthew