Amgen’s Otezla holds its ground against BMS’ Sotyktu in oral plaque psoriasis market, leaving room for J&J’s potential game-changer

Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Otezla, Sotyktu, Johnson and Johnson

Amgen’s bold $13.4 billion investment in Otezla appears to remain robust in the face of competition from Bristol Myers Squibb’s Sotyktu, according to insights from analysts at Spherix Global Insights. These experts have scrutinized the market dynamics and discovered that Amgen is maintaining its market share while limiting BMS’ growth primarily to users of injectable biologics.

The story begins with BMS selling Otezla to Amgen as part of its strategy to secure regulatory clearance for the Celgene merger. This strategic move was based on the belief that Sotyktu, then in the investigational stage, could outperform the existing oral incumbent, Otezla, in treating plaque psoriasis. This gamble paid off in clinical trials, where Sotyktu outperformed Otezla, and the FDA granted approval for its TYK2 inhibitor for this indication a year ago.

To gain a deeper understanding of the post-market landscape since Sotyktu’s arrival as the second oral plaque psoriasis drug, Spherix conducted surveys among US dermatologists. Their analysis unveiled that Amgen has not ceded “any material share” to Sotyktu and provided compelling evidence that Amgen can continue to thrive in this market.

According to the analysts, “Sotyktu currently enjoys and is projected to sustain gradual gains in market share over the next six months. However, the predictions from prescribers suggest that Sotyktu’s success will likely come at the expense of approved injectable biologics, rather than Otezla itself.” BMS has indeed seen incremental gains, resulting in $41 million in Sotyktu sales during the first half of the year. However, Otezla remains a significantly larger product, generating sales of $600 million in the second quarter alone. Competitive dynamics have affected Amgen, as they reported that “new patient demand was impacted by free drug programs for newly launched topical and systemic competitors.”

Despite these challenges, Amgen maintains a positive outlook for Otezla, foreseeing strong growth potential. This is in line with the findings from Spherix, as dermatologists polled in their surveys acknowledged that Sotyktu surpasses Otezla on several performance metrics. However, there is little evidence to suggest a significant shift in market share in the near future.

Instead, the surveys highlight a persistent unmet need in the oral plaque psoriasis treatment space. Dermatologists pointed out safety and tolerability issues with Sotyktu and expressed a desire for an ideal oral treatment option. One dermatologist called for “an oral agent that is more effective than Otezla and safer than Sotyktu,” while another emphasized the need for “an oral medication with a clean safety record that matches the efficacy of IL-23 injectables.”

Several companies, including Johnson & Johnson, are actively working to develop products that meet these criteria. Surveyed dermatologists indicated that nearly 40% of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis could be candidates for J&J’s oral IL-23 inhibitor JNJ-2113, based on promising phase 2b trial data released earlier this year. This suggests that the market may continue to evolve as new treatment options become available to address these unmet needs.

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