Lilly's new psoriasis med faces off against Novartis' quick-launching Cosentyx

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Move over, Cosentyx--there's a new next-gen psoriasis med in town.

On Tuesday, the FDA approved Eli Lilly's ($LLY) Taltz, the second IL-17A med to win its favor behind Novartis' ($NVS) contender. The agency based its decision on three Phase III studies pitting the med against placebo; two of those studies also included a head-to-head arm which showed the prospect could top Amgen's blockbuster TNF inhibitor Enbrel.

Lilly's expecting big things for Taltz, which it hopes can crack the blockbuster barrier; it's certainly entering a sizable patient pool, with psoriasis affecting an estimated 7.5 million U.S. patients. First though, it'll have to face down Cosentyx, which has been snapping up psoriasis market share since January of last year. The Indianapolis drugmaker wouldn't say if it intends to undercut its rival on price.

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And there's more competition on the way. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ)--whose Stelara is set to suffer on the new-age competition--is working on candidate guselkumab, while Merck ($MRK) is prepping MK-3222. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca ($AZN) has licensed its brodalumab to Valeant ($VRX), though with the company facing a host of serious struggles, that med--which was linked to suicidal thoughts in trials, prompting AZ partner Amgen ($AMGN) to jump ship--faces an uncertain future.

Lilly isn't planning to stop at psoriasis, though. Last April, it announced that Taltz had met its primary endpoint in a Phase III study in patients with psoriatic arthritis. But Cosentyx is one step ahead of it there, too; this January, U.S. regulators gave the Swiss pharma giant's product go-aheads in both psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

- read Lilly's release

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