Boehringer Ingelheim has received its first dermatology approval from FDA, becoming the first company to do so for the treatment of generalised pustular psoriasis.
Boehringer Ingelheim’s (BI) drug Spevigo has recently gained FDA approval for treatment of generalised pustular psoriasis (GPP), a rare heterogeneous skin disease that is caused by the accumulation of a certain type of white blood cell in the skin, namely, neutrophils.
GPP is an extremely rare disease, only affecting one in every 10,000 people, which is why it is often under-diagnosed or mistaken for another skin disease. Previously, doctors treated the disease with the help of drugs such as AbbVie’s Skyrizi, Novartis’ Cosentyx, Amgen’s Enbrel, Johnson & Johnson’s Tremfya, etc.
The interleukin-36 receptor plays a major part in many auto-inflammatory diseases and Spevigo, with the help of its selective antibody targeting quality, treats this receptor.
Because of this, Spevigo has been awarded the Breakthrough Therapy, Priority Review, Orphan Drug, and Rare Disease designations in the U.S., China, Taiwan, Korea, and Australia. The European Medicines Agency has also validated the marketing application for Spevigo. In addition to this, regulatory review of the drug is ongoing in other countries as well.
Spevigo gained FDA approval only after a stage 2 trial of 53 patients with flares. It was reported that by the end of the 12-week trial, 54% of the patients showed no visible pustules after one dose of the prescribed drug, compared to only 6% of the placebo patients. Only 11% of the placebo patients had almost clear skin by the end of the trial, compared to 43% of patients who were treated with the drug reached such an end. In comparison to patients on the placebo treatment, patients treated with Spevigo also showed higher rates of non-serious infections, which is a testament to the drug’s safety. The drug was also noted to sustain protection for 12 weeks.
Most patients who were admitted in the trial had high pustule density and low quality of life and were given the drug at 900-mg intravenous doses. The results of the trial are also available to review in The New England Journal of Medicine.
While this life-threatening skin condition starts manifesting as painful blisters, untreated GPP flares can amount to heart and renal failures or even sepsis. Before this point, there was no FDA-approved drug to help treat this condition.
“Spevigo’s approval, therefore, opens new avenues for dermatologists around the world” Mark Lebwohl, M.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology said.
According to a BI spokesperson, the exact price of the drug may vary depending on each person’s insurance coverage but the company will work to the best of its ability in collaboration with insurance providers to ensure easy access of the drug for patients.
The German company is also working to test the effectiveness of the drug against other skin diseases including palmoplantar pustulosis and hidradenitis suppurativa. BI was also successful in one-upping AnaptysBio with its approval of Spevigo. AnaptysBio also has its drug, imsidolimab, in development, to treat GPP but results are not expected to be out till at least next year.