Novartis Wins European Backing for Psoriasis Drug Cosentyx

Novartis AG won European backing for a treatment against psoriasis that will compete with Amgen Inc.’s Enbrel and may garner more than $1 billion in annual sales.

Novartis’s secukinumab, which the company plans to sell under the brand name Cosentyx, was recommended by the European Medicine Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adult patients, the Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker said in a statement today. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, usually follows the panel’s advice.

The drug is the first in a class of therapies called interleukin-17A inhibitors to be recommended as a first-line treatment for the skin disease, a malady that afflicts more than 125 million people globally. Cosentyx may earn Novartis $1.1 billion in sales in 2020, according to the average of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

In a study, the drug cleared the skin of patients better than Amgen’s Enbrel, the $4.6 billion-a-year drug that is considered the standard of care. Novartis is also awaiting approval for the drug in the U.S. after a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously last month that secukinumab should be approved by the agency.

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