Q&A With UCB's Camille Lee on New Psoriasis Medication Approval

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UCB executive speaks on recent FDA approval of Bimzelx.

In an interview with Pharm Exec associate editor Don Tracy, Camille Lee, SVP, head of US immunology, UCB, speaks about the company's recent FDA approval for Bimzelx, a treatmemt for psoriasis.

Pharm Exec: Generally speaking, how far does UCB's work in psoriasis span?

Lee: UCB started its research work in psoriasis over a decade ago. Through that work, we have two assets available. Most recently and most directly related to UCB's work is our recent approval of Bimzelx. That approval has been specifically first and foremost in the area of psoriasis. It is the first and only approved treatment that is selectively targeted to directly inhibit the IL-17A and IL-17F, which are two key cytokines causing the inflammation of psoriasis. That product has been approved and is now available on the market over the last two weeks. The second product that we have on the market is called Cimzia, and it is an anti TNF. We launched it over 15 years ago. However, it didn't start in psoriasis. We started the treatment in Crohn's disease and it evolved into the psoriasis area just over six years ago. We have been active in the dermatology community in the US now for over six years as well.

Pharm Exec: Recently, UCB announced the commercial availability of Bimzelx for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy. What does this treatment hitting the open market signify for the industry?

Lee: I think what's really important is that all of us in our industry should remember that there's not one product that fits every single patient. Every single patient is unique and it's important to recognize that uniqueness. As we try to understand the journey that a patient goes through, we also get the insight and the knowledge that many patients are not clear with their current treatment and many of the patients that are on current treatment have said that they don't find it to be a realistic goal. They need to feel like there's a better treatment option available for them. What that translate to is that patients are saying "Ok, we have treatment, but it's not fulfilling our needs and there's an unmet need here for us to live our best lives." We also see that played out in the data that we looked at in patients that switched between brands. That signifies the opportunity that exists. What we do know from having had Bimzelx launch in over 40 countries and our data, is that we have over 12,000 people living with psoriasis that are leading into the results you see from our Phase 3 studies. In those studies, we see that more than 80% of patients that are treated with Bimzelx achieved clear or close to clear skin with more than half achieving complete clearance at week 16. It's critical that a patient starts to feel the benefit as early on as treatment. The other critical point is that we're coming with three year data. Most products that launch usually only have 12 months.

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