J&J's next-gen psoriasis med tops Humira in head-to-head showdown

Johnson & Johnson

Next-gen psoriasis drugmakers have long been going after Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara, showing they could top the heavyweight with their own up-and-comers in head-to-head studies. Now, though, it’s J&J’s turn to tout data for its own new-age candidate, guselkumab, against another behemoth in the field.

The New Jersey drugmaker announced Saturday that its prospect had beaten out AbbVie best-seller Humira in a Phase III trial, recording a higher proportion at Week 16 of patients achieving cleared or minimal disease, J&J said.

Responses from patients in the study’s guselkumab arm were also “durable and maintained through Week 48,” lead study investigator Andrew Blauvelt said in a statement.

It’s a win for J&J, which is racing to catch up with next-gen competitors that are further down the regulatory pathway and--in some cases--already on the market. Early last year, Novartis’ Cosentyx hit the scene, and the Basel-based drugmaker capitalized on that lead by racking up a pair of additional indications in psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. This year, Eli Lilly’s Taltz entered the fray, and Valeant’s brodalumab is now awaiting an FDA verdict after scoring backing from an FDA advisory committee.

But despite hefty competition, J&J is hoping guselkumab can make its mark--and back up Stelara, which is currently working to ward off all the new competitors. The pharma giant is also working to expand Stelara outside psoriasis, and on that front, the blockbuster drug last week snagged a Crohn’s indication.

Meanwhile, the raft of new Humira-topping players isn’t exactly welcome news for AbbVie, which is also dealing with biosimilar rivals eager to snatch a piece of the med’s world-leading sales. Last week, U.S. regulators approved Amgen’s Humira copy Amjevita, though thanks to legal wrangling from AbbVie, it’s unclear when the product will be able to launch.

Related Articles:
J&J's Stelara, squeezed in psoriasis, grabs new market with Crohn's approval
Amgen's Humira biosim, Amjevita, passes FDA milestone on long road to market
FDA panel unanimously backs Valeant's suicide-linked psoriasis med, but serious competition awaits
Lilly's new psoriasis med faces off against Novartis' quick-launching Cosentyx