Psoriasis Drug Development

The involvement of the immune system and the rapid overproduction of skin cells are the primary factors that cause psoriasis symptoms. The majority of drugs for psoriasis that is currently in development are targeted towards these pathways to increase the efficacy of treatments while reducing the adverse effects.


History of psoriasis treatments

Throughout history, the treatments used to manage the symptoms of psoriasis were largely discovered through experimentation and noting the response of the skin lesions to these treatments. It was in this way that traditional psoriasis treatments, such as coal tar, were initially discovered.

However, advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of psoriasis have revolutionized the way in which drug discovery studies for the treatment of psoriasis are conducted. It is for this reason that the drug market for psoriasis treatments is rapidly expanding and is believed to double by 2023.

Medications targeting the action of T cells in the immune system and others that inhibit tumor necrosis factor (TNF) have already entered the market, along with 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. This is a new biologic drug that is a suitable alternative for patients who 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. Otezle is expected to be useful in the treatment of severe cases to delay the progression to biological 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 by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the next five years.

Medications for administration via injection that are currently in development include:

  • Guselkumab
  • ABP 501
  • GP2017
  • Tregalizumab
  • Cimzia (certolizumab pegol)
  • Cosentyx (secukinumab)
  • Tildrakizumab
  • Namilumab
  • IMO-840
  • BI 655066

Medications for oral administration that are currently in development include:

  • XP23829
  • KD025
  • Alitretinoin
  • ASP015K
  • Apo805K1
  • FP187
  • LEO 22811
  • Baricitinib
  • VB-201
  • CF101

Medications for topical application that are currently in development include:

  • LAS41008
  • Enstilar foam
  • MOL 4239
  • IDP-118
  • AN2728
  • CT 327
  • LAS41004
  • Taclonex
  • LEO 90100
  • PH-10
  • WBI-1001
  • Calcipotriene foam
  • Tofacitinib
  • M518101
  • DFD-01


Further Reading

Last Updated: May 4, 2021

Yolanda Smith

Written by

Yolanda Smith

Yolanda graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of South Australia and has experience working in both Australia and Italy. She is passionate about how medicine, diet and lifestyle affect our health and enjoys helping people understand this. In her spare time she loves to explore the world and learn about new cultures and languages.


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