In a move to widen Nucala's reach, GlaxoSmithKline jump-starts nasal polyps trial

GlaxoSmithKline is testing Nucala, currently approved for a type of severe asthma, in various inflammatory conditions, including COPD and atopic dermatitis.

GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala may soon get some serious competition in the severe asthma market from an AstraZeneca rival. So the British drugmaker is setting out to see how Nucala fares in other diseases, too.

GSK said Tuesday it had started up a phase 3 study of Nucala in patients with severe nasal polyps, a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause symptoms such as facial pain, breathing problems and loss of smell.

While polyps aren’t life-threatening, they are common. And if successful, Nucala could provide an alternative to the corticosteroids that are the current standard of care and possibly prevent the surgeries severe cases sometimes require.

3-Day Conference

6th Promotional Review Committee Compliance & Best Practices Conference

The leading U.S. event devoted to building the skills, speed and teamwork of your promotional review committee members will take place May 15–17, 2019 in Chicago. The conference is set to bring together more than 75 professionals to ensure your PRC is prepared to generate, collect and constructively act on expert comments for your entire drug and device portfolio.

RELATED: Top 15 pharma companies by 2016 revenue - GSK

If successful, the trial could lead to a nasal polyps approval, boosting the med outside of the eosinophilic asthma arena. That's a field that could soon get crowded. Right now, Glaxo is battling Teva’s Cinqair, though as an intravenous med, the Israeli drugmaker’s product is less convenient than Nucala, which is an injectable.

AstraZeneca's injectable candidate benralizumab, however, could prove a greater threat. Evidence may support dosing the AZ med at eight-week intervals, instead of the every-four-weeks schedule for Nucala.

RELATED: Can easier dosing propel AstraZeneca's severe asthma med past Glaxo's Nucala?

GSK doesn’t seem worried, though; it’s “very pleased with the progress” of Nucala so far, CEO Emma Walmsley said druing April’s first-quarter earnings call. More than 10,000 patients in the U.S. are treated with the drug, and Nucala has grown the severe asthma market by a third, she pointed out.

That doesn’t mean the company is ready to rest on Nucala’s laurels. In addition to the nasal polyp trial, which is set to wrap in 2019, Glaxo is also conducting phase 3 Nucala trials in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the autoimmune condition Churg-Strauss syndrome, and severe hypereosinophilic syndrome. Nucala is also in phase 2 as a treatment for serious cases of the skin condition atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.

Suggested Articles

With a deal for the digoxin portfolio of Poland's Nobilus, C2 Pharma will have two supplies of API for making the sometimes difficult-to-get drug.…

A North Carolina federal jury found that Puma maliciously defamed Eshelman amid a proxy fight that began in late 2015.

Merck KGaA says it will invest €1 billion in its headquarters site in Darmstadt, Germany, as part of a five-year agreement reached with workers there.