Patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis showed significant recovery after a single dose of an experimental human antibody treatment that targets interleukin-23, data from a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has shown.

Interleukin-23, a cytokine molecule, appears to trigger a cascade of interactions that lead to inflammation in the skin and excessive growth of skin cells and dilation of blood vessels. Compound BI 655066 is a fully human IgG1 monoclonal antibody that targets interleukin-23 p19 subunit and prevents it from binding to receptors on cells that respond to it.

In the Phase 1, single-rising-dose, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-dose cohort study, 39 patients received single-dose intravenous BI 655066, subcutaneous BI 655066, or placebo. Almost all of the 31 patients who received the study drug saw significant or complete improvement in their symptoms. Researchers reported that on average, a single treatment led to a >80% improvement in severity and extent of skin lesions.

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Clinical improvement was seen from Week 2 and continued to last until 66 weeks post-treatment. By Week 12, 75%, 90%, and 100% decreases in the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index were achieved by 87%, 58%, and 16% of BI 655066–treated patients (any dose), respectively, vs. none of those who received placebo.

Genetic sequencing of skin samples further showed that the antibody reduced the expression of cytokines and other molecules that characterize psoriasis. Study findings support the important role of interleukin-23 in psoriasis pathogenesis.

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