Cost regulators for the NHS in England and Wales are endorsing Eli Lilly's Taltz as a cost effective option for treating plaque psoriasis.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has now published draft guidelines recommending use of the drug if the disease is classed as severe, as per a total Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) of 10 or more and a Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) of more than 10, and has not responded to standard systemic therapies or patients are unable to take them.

The recommendation is also contingent on the continued provision of a Patient Access Scheme, under which Taltz (ixekizumab) is offered at a confidential discount to the NHS, and stipulates that treatment is stopped at 12 weeks if psoriasis has not responded adequately.

Taltz is an antibody specifically designed to target the cytokine interleukin IL-17A, a protein that plays a role in driving underlying inflammation in psoriasis.

Its European approval back in April came on the back of data from seven clinical trials, including three pivotal double-blinded multi-centre Phase III studies (UNCOVER), which involved more than 3,800 psoriasis patients from 21 countries.

According to the data, for patients treated with the monoclonal antibody either every four weeks or every two weeks, between 78 percent and 90 percent achieved at least a 75% reduction in the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score at 12 weeks.

Around 20,000 people in the UK would be eligible for treatment with the drug, according to data submitted by the company.