Wyeth has been boosted by the news that regulators in Europe have granted another approval to the firm’s biologic blockbuster Enbrel.

The European Commission has granted marketing authorisation of the use of Enbrel (etanercept) as the first biologic licensed for treatment in children and adolescents with chronic severe plaque psoriasis. The approval covers patients between eight and 17 who cannot use other systemic therapies.

The thumbs-up was expected seeing as Enbrel received a positive recommendation from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use in November. The approval is based on the results from a study of 211 people, the first trial of a biologic in plaque psoriasis patients in this age group.

That data showed that at 12 weeks, 57% of patients receiving Enbrel achieved 75% improvement in the psoriasis area-and-severity index (PASI 75) compared to 11% on placebo. After 36 weeks, 68% of Enbrel patients achieved PASI 75 and the drug was found to be well tolerated.

Andreas Krebs, president of Wyeth Europe, said the approval is important for “this younger population which up until now, were unable to access the same treatment options that adults with psoriasis have had for four years". This latest approval “solidifies Enbrel's position as the leading psoriasis treatment," he added.

This is the sixth indication for Enbrel which is also approved for adult rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, adult psoriatic arthritis and adult psoriasis.