Denmark’s Leo Pharma is celebrating the news that its new drug for scalp psoriasis, Xamiol, has been approved in 16 European countries.

The Ballerup-based firm, which noted that the UK will be the first country to market Xamiol (calcipotriene and betamethasone) in the fourth quarter this year, said that the approval of the topical gel was based on data involving studies of more than 5,300 people. Of those tested, 80% concluded that their disease was under control after eight weeks of treatment.

Leo’s chief executive, Gitte Aabo, said that the approval “opens up for amazing opportunities” for the firm and “the tens of thousands of patients that have requested an efficient drug for treatment of the serious and visible scalp psoriasis”. The company’s executive vice president of R&D, Lars Olsen, added that Xamiol forms the first part of a number of new products on their way to the market “that will cement Leo as the world’s leading pharmaceutical company in particular within the treatment of psoriasis”.

In June, the firm won approval for the drug in the USA where it is to be sold as Taclonex Scalp by partner Warner Chilcott. Leo noted that 20 million adults in Europe and the USA are suffering from psoriasis, with 450,000 new cases being diagnosed each year, and 65% of all patients have the chronic, inflammatory disease on the body and in the scalp simultaneously.

The approval with help boost sales at Leo, which is 100 years old and had 2007 revenues of 5.25 billion Danish kroner, which presently equates to around $1.04 billion.