AstraZeneca and Amgen have presented late-stage data showing that its investigational psoriasis drug broadalumab proved superior to Johnson & Johnson’s big-selling Stelara in achieving total skin clearance.

Two doses of brodalumab, which targets the IL-17 receptor, were tested  in more than 1,800 patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. Results from the Phase III trial showed that 36.7% of patients in the brodalumab 210mg group, 27% in the 140mg group, 18.5% on Stelara (ustekinumab) and 0.3% on placebo achieved total clearance of skin disease (PASI 100). In addition, 85.1% in the brodalumab 210mg group, 69.2% for 140mg group, 69.3% in the Stelara group and 6% on placebo achieved PASI 75.

Despite a variety of treatment options available for psoriasis, “many patients still do not meet skin clearance goals,” Amgen R&D chief Sean Harper said. He added that these results “are the first to demonstrate superiority to Stelara in achieving total skin clearance” and the second positive Phase III study evaluating brodalumab for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Results are expected later this year from another head-to-head study versus Stelara. Amgen and AstraZeneca have high hopes for broadalumab, although Novartis’ secukinumab should be the first IL-17A inhibitor on the market; advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to support approval of the latter last month.

Brodalumab is also being investigated for psoriatic arthritis (Phase III) and asthma (Phase II).