AbbVie's Skyrizi delivers head-to-head win versus Amgen's Otezla in psoriasis

After triumphing over Novartis’ Cosentyx in a 2020 psoriasis study, Skyrizi has dished out another serving of competitor-busting data. This time, the AbbVie and Boehringer Ingelheim-partnered biologic has gone head-to-head against Amgen’s Otezla.

At week 16 of the phase 4 IMMpulse study, 55.9% of patients on Skyrizi reached an optimal score on a standard measure of the severity and extent of psoriasis—meaning they experienced clear or almost clear skin—versus 5.1% of patients on Otezla, AbbVie said in a Wednesday release.

A significantly higher proportion of Skyrizi patients (75.4%) also scored better on the static Physicians Global Assessment (sPGA) scale of disease severity than those who received Amgen’s rival drug (18.4%), according to AbbVie.

The IMMpulse study pitted Skyrizi against Otezla in adult patients with moderate plaque psoriasis eligible for systemic therapy. The data were published the data in the British Journal of Dermatology Wednesday.

Skyrizi also appeared to help those who didn’t benefit from prior treatment with Otezla. At the 52-week mark in the study, 72.3% of patients who failed to achieve an adequate Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score after 16 weeks on Otezla, and who were re-randomized to Skyrizi, hit a 90% improvement on the scale. That compared with 2.6% for those who continued on Otezla.

Over the years, Skyrizi has racked up a suite of data showing its power in psoriasis.

In March, study results showed the drug completely cleared skin or left only minimal disease in 63% of patients after a year of treatment among those who had a suboptimal response to either Cosentyx or Taltz. Those results, from a single-arm phase 3b trial, were presented at the 2023 American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting.

While Skyrizi showed it could help many patients who had unresolved psoriasis following Cosentyx or Taltz, the results didn’t necessarily prove that the AbbVie drug is better than the other two drugs. Skyrizi targets the inflammatory cytokine IL-23, while Cosentyx and Taltz are IL-17A antibodies. Patients sometimes cycle through different therapies.

Prior to that phase 3b win, Skyrizi topped Cosentyx in a 2020 head-to-head trial in psoriasis. In that study, dubbed Immerge, 66% of patients treated with Skyrizi saw completely clear skin on the PASI index at week 16, versus 40% treated with Cosentyx.

Skyrizi is also delivering big gains on the sales front, too. Last year, the drug brought home $5.2 billion, climbing 76% year over year. That beat out Cosentyx, which generated global 2022 revenues of $4.8 billion, good for 1% growth. Cosentyx is an older drug so it makes sense it wouldn't be growing at the same trajectory as AbbVie's key launch.

Otezla, for its part, is well behind those two rivals in revenues. For all of 2022, the medicine generated $1.88 billion in sales, increasing 2% on the year.