Janssen’s Tremfya has been recommended by NICE as a cost-effective treatment for plaque psoriasis.

The cost regulator published a Final Appraisal Determination this month backing funding for the drug  - which was launched in the UK in November last year - when used to treat moderate to severe forms of the disease.

Plaque psoriasis, which affects around 43,000 people in England, can have a considerable impact on physical and psychological well being, with a significant portion of patients experiencing depression and anxiety as a result of having the condition.

Tremfya (guselkumab) is the first biologic to selectively target interleukin (IL)-23, a key protein involved in the immune inflammatory response in psoriasis.

The NICE FAD was fast-tracked following European approval of the drug in November last year, which came after Phase III trials, VOYAGE 1 and VOYAGE 2, showed high rates of skin clearance.

After just 16 weeks, a PASI 90 score was recorded in 73.3 percent and 70.0 percent of patients receiving Tremfya, compared with 49.7 percent and 46.8 percent in those given Humira (adalimumab), respectively.

“We are delighted that NICE is recommending guselkumab be made available to patients in the UK,” said Jennifer Lee, director of Health Economics, Market Access and Reimbursement (HEMAR) and Advocacy, Janssen-Cilag Ltd.

“There remains a need for new treatment options that improve long-term outcomes. Patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis may now benefit from this new treatment option.”

The company has agreed a confidential patient access scheme with the Department of Health and Social Care, which offers the drug to the NHS at a reduced cost.