Novartis’ eagerly-anticipated new psoriasis drug Cosentyx will be available in the UK at the beginning of March, the first IL17-A inhibitor to be licensed for the skin condition.

Cosentyx (secukinumab) was approved by the European Commission last month as a first-line treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy. The green light was based on data which showed that more than seven out of 10 patients achieving a 75% improvement of their psoriasis at 12 weeks and beyond.

Much of the excitement around Cosentyx is based on the high rates of clear to almost clear skin it has demonstrated and it has shown superiority to Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept), an anti-TNF standard of care. Chris Griffiths at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust noted that “our aim in psoriasis management is to achieve clear skin for our patients [and] our participation in the secukinumab clinical trial programme has shown us first-hand its impact”.

His enthusiasm was echoed by Helen McAteer, chief executive of the Psoriasis Association. “Our research suggests people want treatments that will reduce the visible elements of psoriasis as well as improve their overall well-being,” she said, and “new treatments which achieve this, like secukinumab, will be welcomed”.

Cosentyx will now be reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Scottish Medicines Consortium.