By Yolanda Smith, BPharm
Throughout history, the treatments used to manage the symptoms of psoriasis were largely discovered through experimentation and noting how the skin lesions responded. It was in this way that long-used treatments such as coal tar were initially discovered.
However, advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of psoriasis has revolutionized the way we now go about discovering and developing new drugs to manage the condition. It is for this reason that the drug market for psoriasis treatments is rapidly expanding and is thought to more than double by 2023.
In particular, the involvement of the immune system and the rapid overproduction of skin cells is the primary factor that causes the symptoms. The majority of drugs for psoriasis in development are targeted towards these pathways to increase the efficacy of the treatments while reducing the adverse effects.
Medications targeting the action of T cells in the immune system and others that inhibit the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) have already entered the market, and there are several other similar drugs that are currently in development.
New Drugs in 2015
At the beginning of 2015 both Cosentyx (secukinumab) and Otezla (apremilast) were approved for use in the treatment of psoriasis.
Cosentyx is manufactured by Novartis and is the first interleukin-17 (IL-17) inhibitor to be approved, indicated for adults with moderate to severe psoriasis. It is a new biologic drug that is a suitable alternative for patients that are unresponsive to other treatments for the condition.
Otezle is manufactured by Celgene and is a selective phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, which is a new drug class that is thought to exist midway between traditional systemic drugs and biologic treatments. It is expected to be useful in the treatment of severe cases to delay the progression to biologic drugs.
Drugs Currently in Development
The market for pharmaceutical treatments for psoriasis is growing at a rapid rate, with a significant number of new medications that are expected to apply for approval in the next five years.
Medications for administration via injection that are currently in development include:
- ABP 501
- Cimzia (certolizumab pegol)
- Cosentyx (secukinumab)
- BI 655066
Medications for oral administration that are currently in development include:
- LEO 22811
Medications for topical application that are currently in development include:
- Enstilar foam
- MOL 4239
- CT 327
- LEO 90100
- Calcipotriene foam
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2015