A head-to-head study has demonstrated the superiority of Novartis’ psoriasis drug Cosentyx to Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara in clearing skin.

The Swiss major has presented top-line results from a Phase IIIb study involving 679 moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis patients which showed that those on Cosentyx (secukinumab) achieved PASI 90, which represents clear or almost clear skin, at week 16. The study also met the secondary endpoint of achieving PASI 75 at Week 4.

The trial is the second head-to-head study for the IL-17A inhibitor versus established psoriasis biologics. It follows on from the Phase III FIXTURE study, which showed that Cosentyx was superior to Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept), a current standard-of-care, in clearing psoriasis skin with a comparable safety profile.

Advisors to the European Medicines Agency voted to support approval of Cosentyx as a first-line therapy in November, a month after their counterparts across the Atlantic voted unanimously to approve the drug.