GlaxoSmithKline has reported long-term safety data showing a sustained reduction in severe asthma attacks and improved asthma control in patients taking its biologic Nucala.

The COLUMBA study showed that treatment with Nucala (mepolizumab) had a safety profile similar to previous placebo-controlled studies, when patients received injections of the drug for an average of 3.5 years and a maximum of 4.5 years.

It also showed that patients with severe eosinophilic asthma, who were treated with Nucala, had significant reductions in asthma exacerbations and improvements in the control of their asthma symptoms, GSK said.

According to the data, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), one third of patients in the study treated with Nucala experienced no asthma attacks, despite entering the study with an average of almost two attacks (1.74) per year, while 78% showed a reduction in blood eosinophils.

Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is the main promoter of eosinophil growth, activation and survival, and Nucala is the first and only approved biologic therapy that targets IL-5 and stops it from binding to its receptor, thereby interrupting the inflammation pathway.

The drug was first approved in 2015 for treatment of severe eosinophilic asthma.