Novartis enters atopic dermatitis space

Pipeline therapies face tough task to overthrow Dupixent in atopic dermatitis space, says GlobalData

With Sanofi/Regeneron’s Dupixent dominating the current standard of care in atopic dermatitis, new monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments such as Novartis’ MOR106 are unlikely to overthrow it, said GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Novartis has announced that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Galapagos and MorphoSys to pursue the global development and marketing of MOR106 for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. GlobalData forecasts that the atopic dermatitis market will reach $3.8b by 2024.

However, MOR106 is not the only new mAb treatment to be coming to the atopic dermatitis market in the near future; late-stage development treatments include Galderma’s nemolizumab, an anti-IL-31 mAb that aims to tackle inflammation by targeting pruritus and relieve scratching of lesions, and LEO Pharma’s tralokinumab, an anti-IL-13 mAb that aims to prevent the underlying inflammation caused by the proliferation of proinflammatory cell types.

Antoine Grey, MBiochem, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, said: “MOR106 has had its efficacy demonstrated in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase Ib study and is currently undergoing a Phase II trial as part of the IGUANA program, as well as undergoing preclinical testing for psoriasis. Although moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis patients already have access to mAb IL inhibitors, most notably Sanofi/Regeneron’s IL-4-targeting Dupixent (dupilumab), MOR106 has the potential to be the first to target IL-17C.”

This IL is known to be proinflammatory, stimulating the release of other proinflammatory factors such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and IL-1β, and it specifically regulates Th17 cell development by binding to the IL-17RE expressed on CD4+ T cells. Since it is proinflammatory, IL-17C was suspected of being a viable target for treating chronic inflammatory conditions like atopic dermatitis when its role in mice inflammatory signaling was elucidated.

Grey concluded: “Dupixent is likely to retain its lead within the atopic dermatitis space for the foreseeable future, as patients report high rates of satisfaction on the potentially blockbuster drug. Despite having different mechanisms of action, mAbs other than Dupixent, such as MOR106, will likely only take a small market share by 2027.”

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