Novartis' secukinumab has outperformed Amgen's multi-billion-dollar drug Enbrel in a late-stage clinical trial in patients with psoriasis.

The Swiss drug giant has reported that top-line results from a Phase III trial show that its drug demonstrated superiority over Enbrel (etanercept) on measures including disease activity and clearing of the skin in patients with the condition. 

Secukinumab (also known as AIN457) is the first medicine selectively targeting IL-17A - a central cytokine (messenger protein) in the development of psoriasis - to present Phase III results, the group said.

According to Tim Wright, Global Head of Development, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, results from the 1.307-patient FIXTURE trial "showing that secukinumab (AIN457) is superior to Enbrel, a current standard-of-care therapy, are great news for people living with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis".

"With 40-50% of people living with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis dissatisfied with their current therapies, there is clearly an unmet medical need for new therapies that act faster and longer to relieve pain, itching and other symptoms," he stressed.

Full data from the trial are to be presented at a medical conference later this year, but Novartis did reveal that its drug has hit all primary and secondary endpoints, and that no new safety concerns were revealed.

Regulatory submissions for secukinumab are pencilled in for the second half of this year.