AbbVie eyes 2nd Rinvoq nod as it hits its marks in psoriatic arthritis

AbbVie blockbuster-to-be Rinvoq only just hit the scene in rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s already on its way to a second indication.

Thursday, the Illinois drugmaker said its newcomer had hit its primary endpoint in a phase 3 psoriatic arthritis (PsA) trial, topping placebo at reducing symptoms. At Week 12, 57% of patients taking a 15 mg dose and 64% of patients on a 30 mg dose hit ACR20, a benchmark on a commonly used scale from the American College of Rheumatology to measure joint swelling and more. Just 24% of placebo patients reached the same mark.

Full results from the trial, dubbed Select-PsA2, will roll out at a future medical meeting and in a peer-reviewed publication, AbbVie said. They’ll also support regulatory submissions for Rinvoq in PsA, Michael Severino, M.D., company vice chairman and president, said in a statement.

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"Too many people living with psoriatic arthritis still fail to achieve their treatment goals, underscoring a clear medical need for additional therapeutic options," he added.

Those therapeutic options have multiplied recently with the advent of the IL-17A class, beginning with a PsA nod for Novartis’ Cosentyx in early 2016. Eli Lilly’s Taltz followed up with its own late the following year, and the two have been battling it out in the market ever since.

AbbVie isn’t afraid of a little competition in the anti-inflammatory market, though. After all, it’s positioning Rinvoq as a follow-up to Humira, the world’s best-selling drug. Analysts expect the med to hit $2.2 billion in annual sales per year by 2023, helping AbbVie fill the gap left by Humira biosimilars.

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There’s just one potential snag: Rinvoq is a member of the JAK inhibitor class, which has recently been plagued by safety issues.