Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) Xeljanz (tofacitinib) is likely to be approved in moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis but market uptake will be poor due to competition from other drugs and pricing, experts agreed.
It would be very surprising if both the 5 mg and 10 mg dosages of Xeljanz were not approved in psoriasis, said Dr Alan Menter, director, Fellowship Program Baylor Psoriasis Center, Dallas Texas. The 10 mg dose of Xeljanz is on par with AbbVie's (ABBV:NYSE) Humira (adalimumab), Enbrel (etanercept) or Janssen's Stelara (ustekinumab), agreed Dr Brett King, assistant professor, Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. The efficacy of the 5 mg dose is similar to methotrexate, but might be a little better, he added.
Xeljanz has a strong chance of being approved in psoriasis, said Dr Curdin Conrad, head, Center for Psoriasis, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland, but the drug does not have a solid place on the market, he added. Small molecules like Xeljanz and Celgene's (NASDAQ:CELG) Otezla (apremilast) are clearly less effective than biologics, and the ideal positioning for small molecules would be between methotrexate and the biologics, but for that they would have to be cheaper than the biologics, he explained.