Novartis pads Cosentyx's psoriatic arthritis lead with joint-damage label update

Novartis headquarters
Novartis' Cosentyx was the first drug in its class to win a psoriatic arthritis approval. (Wikimedia Commons/Andrew/Flickr)

As the psoriatic arthritis field heats up, Novartis has added some new data to its Cosentyx label it hopes can stretch out the drug’s lead.

This week, the FDA gave the Swiss drugmaker the green light to include results showing Cosentyx could slow the progression of joint structural damage associated with the disease. The update was based on data from a phase 3 study that showed Cosentyx could top placebo at inhibiting progression at the 24-week mark.

“The progressive nature of this disease should not be ignored. The joint damage that often results from having the disease over time can potentially be permanent," Marcia Kayath, Novartis’ head of U.S. clinical development and medical affairs, said in a statement, adding that, "Now physicians and their patients with psoriatic arthritis can be confident that Cosentyx not only offers significant symptom relief, but also helps slow the progression of the disease."

Cosentyx, which started off with a psoriasis indication, was the first drug in its class of IL-17 drugs to win approval, but since then, a few new IL-17 and IL-23 rivals have followed it onto the market. Eli Lilly’s Taltz, Valeant’s Siliq, Johnson & Johnson Tremfya and Sun's Ilumya all directly compete against the Novartis blockbuster.

RELATED: Lilly's Taltz takes Cosentyx rivalry into psoriatic arthritis with new FDA nod

So far, though, of that lot, only Taltz has encroached on Cosentyx’ psoriatic arthritis territory, picking up a go-ahead last December. And Lilly's approval came with joint-damage data from the get-go, showing that Taltz could inhibit progression compared with placebo at the 16-week mark. 


Meanwhile, outside Cosentyx’s class, other drugmakers are looking for footholds in psoriatic arthritis, too. Later in December, Pfizer’s JAK inhibitor Xeljanz, for one, picked up an FDA approval to treat the malady.