Less skin in the atopic dermatitis game for Novartis
Atopic dermatitis is a hotly contested space, so news of MOR106’s failure will come as something of a relief to the developers of the remaining contenders. The asset, discovered by Morphosys and Genmab and being developed by Novartis, was among the most closely watched in the sector’s well-stocked mid-stage pipeline. A phase II trial failed an interim futility analysis for efficacy and work in this disease has been scrapped, with development elsewhere under review, the partners said today. MOR106 was directed at IL-17C, a cytokine expressed preferentially in the skin; these results suggest that IL-17C is a dead end in atopic dermatitis, though with no other project in clinical development taking this specific approach wider implications are presumably limited. The disease area promises much more news in the coming months, however. Before the end of the year two large phase IIb trials are due to report from Asana’s Syk/Jak inhibitor ASN002 and Anaptysbio’s etokimab, an anti-IL-33 antibody. Early next year data should emerge on Kymab’s KY1005, a novel anti-OX40L antibody that is the most advanced asset of this type. The UK company has been exploring an IPO, and this readout could well prove critical for fulfilling that aim.
|Ones to watch? Selected systemically acting, mid-stage atopic dermatitis projects|
|Annual atopic dermatitis sales ($m)|
|ASN002||Asana Biosciences||Syk & Jak inhibitor||-||-|