Novartis’ Cosentyx has again come out on top in a study comparing its efficacy in psoriasis to that of Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara.

According to fresh 52-week data from the head-to-head CLEAR study, presented for the first time at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in Washington DC, Cosentyx (secukinumab) outperformed Stelara (ustekinumab) at achieving sustained skin clearance for adults with moderate-to-severe psoriasis. 

Cosentyx beat Stelara in the proportion of patients achieving and sustaining a _90% reduction in the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI 90) score (76.2% versus 60.6%), and was significantly better on the PASI 100 (clear skin) response (45.9% versus 35.8%) at 52 weeks. Novartis said its drug also showed significantly greater and sustained Dermatology Life Quality Index responses compared to Stelara (71.6% versus 59.2%).

In addition, the findings also demonstrated that Cosentyx had a superior rapid onset of action compared to Stelara, with half of patients achieving PASI 75 as early as Week Four (50.0% versus 20.6%), and that the drugs had comparable safety profiles, the Swiss drug giant stressed. 

“Cosentyx continues to demonstrate superior and sustainable efficacy against currently available biologics and is a proven first-line treatment option for adult patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis,” commented Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis’ chief medical officer, and “has the potential to give more people with psoriasis than ever before the benefit of long-lasting skin clearance.”

In January last year, Cosentyx became the first fully human interleukin-17A inhibitor cleared to treat adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, shortly after a green light was issued for psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in both the EU and US.

In December 2014, Novartis published data showing that its drug was superior to Stelara in clearing skin in psoriasis patients (PASI 90), which also followed data from the Phase III FIXTURE trial demonstrating its superiority Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept).