Lilly says psoriasis treatment outperforms placebo, competitor drug in late-stage research

IndustriesAssociated Press

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. said its potential psoriasis treatment fared better than both a fake drug and a competitor's product during late-stage testing on patients with the most common form of the skin disease.

The Indianapolis company announced initial results from the research on Thursday and said it plans to submit the drug, ixekizumab, to regulators in the first half of next year. The drugmaker has been pushing to develop new treatments to replace revenue lost due to a wave of patent expirations that have hit top-selling drugs like the antidepressant Cymbalta.

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In the ixekizumab research, between 31 percent and 41 percent of the patients taking its drug achieved clear skin, according to the drugmaker. Overall, those on the drug achieved better levels of skin clearance than patients taking a fake treatment or etanercept, which goes by the brand name Enbrel and is sold by Amgen Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

Psoriasis is a chronic disease that occurs when a person's immune system speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. The most common form, plaque psoriasis, creates raised, red patches on the skin.

Lilly shares climbed 6 cents to $62.07 Thursday before markets opened. The stock had climbed about 22 percent so far this year, as of Wednesday's close. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed about 7 percent over the same span.