AbbVie’s new psoriasis treatment Risankizumab is likely to obtain local license within this year, heating the competition in the psoriasis treatment market.
Risankizumab is an antibody inhibitor of Interleukin-23 (IL-23) developed by AbbVie for autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and ulcerative colitis. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is reviewing the drug for approval, sources said. Janssen’s Tremfya (ingredient: guselkumab) has been the only available IL-23 inhibitor in Korea.
Janssen’s Stelara (ingredient: ustekinumab), developed earlier by Janssen as the first IL-23 inhibitor, was effective in suppressing IL-23. Still, its therapeutic effect was weaker than the second-generation treatment because Stelara suppressed IL-12 at the same time.
Second-generation inhibitors of IL-17 and IL-23, which came out after researchers identified the immunological mechanism, proved their superiority to Stelara in head-to-head comparison trials.
In phase-3 studies, Risankizumab also showed stronger efficacy than tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor adalimumab and IL-12/23 inhibitor Stelara.
Risankizumab’s most significant difference from another IL-23 inhibitor Tremfya is the duration of the medication. Tremfya needs to be injected every eight weeks, versus Risankizumab, every 12 weeks.
“Medication intervals in the treatment of psoriasis significantly affect the patient's choice of interleukin inhibitors,” said Choe Yong-beom, a professor at the Dermatology Department of Konkuk University Medical Center. “Generally, patients with severe psoriasis who needs interleukin inhibitors receive treatment at large hospitals. However, those living in small cities and provinces could find it important to know how frequently they should visit the hospital.”
Risankizumab won the nod early this year in the U.S. and Europe, so there is relatively a small amount of prescription history compared to IL-17 inhibitor.
The agent lacks data that proved efficacy for psoriasis in specific areas such as scalp, nails, and genitals that are difficult to treat. Just like Tremfya, Risankizumab does not have an indication for psoriatic arthritis.
However, experts have already recognized the efficacy and safety of Risankizumab, as the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) included the drug in the new guidelines for psoriasis treatment.
As AbbVie already has a sales network for Humira (adalimumab), the arrival of Risankizumab will intensify the competition among interleukin inhibitors.
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