Cost watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has backed NHS funding for UCB’s Cimzia as a treatment for psoriasis, but is not recommending Almirall’s Ilumetri.

Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) is recommended for adults with severe plaque psoriasis that has not responded to other systemic treatments such as phototherapy, methotrexate and ciclosporin, or if these treatments are not suitable.

Cimzia was cleared for use in Europe in July as the first Fc-free, PEGylated anti-TNF treatment option for use in moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. In one clinical trial, response rate for patients who achieved a PASI 75 after 12 weeks’ treatment was 66.7 percent for those receiving Cimzia 400mg every two weeks and 61.3 percent for those getting Cimzia 200mg every two weeks, compared to just 5.0 percent for patients in the placebo group.

According to NICE, clinical data show that the biologic improves severe psoriasis more than placebo and current NHS-funded treatment option etanercept. It was also found to have similar cost effectiveness estimates to other biological treatments.

The annual cost for the first year of treatment is estimated to be £6,793 per patient, and it is estimated that 17,000- 28,000 people would be eligible for this treatment.

On the down side Almirall’s Illumetri (tildrakizumab) was not backed for NHS use to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

The drug was approved in September on the back of data from the Resurface 1 and 2 trials, in which an average of 63% of patients achieved 75% of skin clearance (Psoriasis Area Sensitivity Index or PASI 75) by week 12 and an average of 78% at week 28 after three doses.

However, the cost effectiveness estimates for the drug compared with most other biologics are higher than what is normally considered by NICE to be value for money.