A New Oral Therapy for Psoriasis Could Be Coming Soon

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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The $23 billion psoriasis drug market has a number of well-known pharmaceutical companies vying to get patients to use their drugs.

AbbVie Inc. ABBV with its Skyrizi and Humira options, Amgen Inc. AMGN with Otezla, and Novartis AG NVS with Cosentyx are just some of the companies and drugs on offer to treat the chronic autoimmune condition that has approximately eight million US cases and 125 million worldwide cases annually.

While Amgen’s Otezla is an oral drug, the others are injectable biologics. Injectables can make patients more susceptible to pathogens such as COVID-19 because they actively lower a person’s immune response as the means of combating the chronic condition. Israeli drug company Can-Fite Biopharma’s CANF piclidenoson,  like Amgen’s Otezla, is an oral treatment, and studies have shown it does not have a profile indicating it would lower a person’s immune response to pathogens such as COVID-19, the company says.  

Safety First

Psoriasis patients need a safe oral drug to treat their chronic condition, Can-Fite says. And they also need an option cheaper than biologics.

The injectable biologics option is expensive, costing anything from an estimated $52,000 to $137,000 per patient annually.

Amgen’s oral treatment, Otezla, is cheaper but still clocks in at $42,000 a patient annually, according to Can-Fite.

As for safety, piclidenoson has so far proved to be safe in about 1,500 patients using it in trials.

Can-Fite is expected to announce more results and data from its phase III trial in the first quarter of 2022 where it hopes to confirm superiority in terms of effectiveness versus a placebo. Later in the year, the company is anticipating a similar confirmation in terms of non-inferiority against Otezla in the treatment window of 16 weeks to 32 weeks.

If the results are confirmed, Can-Fite could go head to head with the Otezla product, which it says now has about a 35% market share. 

The company also claims its results so far show no high incidence of side effects such as nausea and diarrhea compared with Otezla.

With Can-Fite designing its study to compete directly with Otezla, Amgen will likely be particularly interested in the results. Otezla generated $2.2 billion in sales for Amgen in 2020 and is projected to generate sales of $3.4 billion in 2026, according to Evaluate Pharma, a data engineering company that covers the pharmaceutical industry.

According to iHealthcareAnalyst, the psoriasis therapeutics market is estimated to reach $11.3 billion by 2025.

Can-Fite has a drug pipeline designed to treat conditions such as liver cancer, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and erectile dysfunction. The company is also working on cannabinoids as a possible treatment for liver cancer and fibrosis.

This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice.

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