ZURICH Oct 1 Novartis's psoriasis drug
Cosentyx showed long-term efficacy in keeping patients' skin
clear, the Swiss drugmaker said on Saturday, citing a study it
hopes will ultimately help the company to win business from
rival medicines made by Amgen and Johnson & Johnson
More than 66 percent of Cosentyx patients achieved "clear or
almost clear" skin after four years, Novartis said, comparable
with the 68.5 percent who hit that milestone after one year.
A durable response is important, since older biotech drugs
for plaque psoriasis, known as anti-TNFs, can lose their
effectiveness over time.
Cosentyx's second-quarter sales hit $260 million from $30
million in the second quarter of 2015, just after it went on
sale, largely as it won patients from anti-TNFs such as Amgen's
With Novartis aiming for $5 billion in peak annual revenue,
the company is now pushing for more dermatologists to shift
patients to Cosentyx from Johnson & Johnson's Stelara. (tinyurl.com/jevenh5)
"Our focus has been continuing to generate the data and
convince physicians that it's worth making the switch," said
Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis chief medical officer, in an
interview ahead of a dermatology congress in Vienna.
"Now you have data out to four years showing we've
maintained the efficacy, at the levels that we saw after year
one," Narasimhan said.
Novartis's findings released on Saturday also showed
Cosentyx helped 60 percent of people with psoriasis on their
hands and feet achieve clear or nearly clear skin on these
Since its introduction in early 2015, Cosentyx has won EU
and U.S. approval for psoriasis as well as for active ankylosing
spondolitis and psoriatic arthritis, a painful autoimmune
condition that damages joints and to which many psoriasis
patients are vulnerable.
(Reporting by John Miller. Editing by Jane Merriman)