– Guselkumab bested secukinumab in a 48-week-long study of plaque psoriasis, with 84.5% of patients on the interleukin (IL)-23 blocker hitting at least a 90% improvement in their Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI), compared with 70% of those taking secukinumab, which blocks IL-17.

Dr. Jeffrey Sobell of Tufts University, Boston

Dr. Jeffrey Sobell

The difference in the PASI 90 response, the primary endpoint, was guselkumab’s largest effect over the comparator in the phase 3 trial, which also had six secondary endpoints. The drug was numerically, but not significantly, better than secukinumab in the PASI 75 response at weeks 12 and 48 (84.6% for guselkumab at both time points vs. 80.2% for secukinumab at both time points). This finding on the primary secondary endpoint knocked the P values of the other five into “nominally significant” ranges. But the responses were still good enough for researchers to tag guselkumab as noninferior to its competitor, Jeffrey M. Sobell, MD, said at the meeting provided by Global Academy for Medical Education.

The difference also speaks to the difference in the drugs’ onset of action and its peak efficacy, said Dr. Sobell, of the department of dermatology at Tufts University, Boston.

“In both groups, the PASI 90 increased similarly in the first month,” to about 20%, he commented. “But at week 12 and after, it was consistently higher in guselkumab, peaking around week 28. Secukinumab peaked around weeks 16 to 20 and then slowly declined.”

Despite not being statistically significant, the other secondary efficacy endpoints were certainly enough to pique the audience’s attention. At week 48, guselkumab topped secukinumab in both PASI 100 (58.2% vs. 48.4%, respectively) and Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) scores of 0 (62.2% vs. 50.4%) and 0-1 (85% vs. 74.9%).

ECLIPSE randomized 1,048 patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis to 100-mg subcutaneous guselkumab at weeks 0, 4, and 12, followed by dosing every 8 weeks, or to 300-mg subcutaneous secukinumab administered by two subcutaneous injections of 150 mg at weeks 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4, followed by dosing every 4 weeks. The primary endpoint of the study was the proportion of patients achieving a PASI 90 response at week 48. Secondary endpoints were assessed at weeks 12 and 48, with safety monitoring through week 56.

The mean baseline Body Surface Area score was 24, and the mean PASI score was 20. Patients had already been treated with phototherapy (51.8%), nonbiologic systemic medications (53.7%), and biologics (29%). About 37% were naive to both nonbiologics and biologics.

Both drugs were well tolerated, with no unanticipated adverse events. Through week 44, the discontinuation rates were 5% for guselkumab and 9% for secukinumab. Adverse events were common in both arms (77.9% and 81.6%, respectively). Serious adverse events occurred in 6.2% and 7.2%, respectively. These included serious infections in six patients taking guselkumab and five taking secukinumab. Superficial Candida infections occurred in 2% of the guselkumab group and 5.7% of the secukinumab group; Tinea infections occurred in 1.7% and 4.5%, respectively.

The session was sponsored by Janssen, the manufacturer of guselkumab (Tremfya). Dr. Sobell is a consultant for Janssen and also disclosed relationships with AbbVie, Amgen, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Regeneron, and Sun Pharma. Secukinumab is marketed as Cosentyx.

Global Academy and this news organization are owned by the same parent company.

This article was updated 2/1/19.

msullivan@mdege.com