Healthy old manPatients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) could one day benefit from a new drug, following results posted from a phase 1B study that evaluated the pharmacokinetics, safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of multiple doses of the drug.

Bimekizumab, developed by pharma UCB, is a highly selective monoclonal antibody that inhibits the activity of both IL-17A and IL-17F, which are key pro-inflammatory cytokines expressed in several inflammatory diseases. In this early proof of concept study, bimekizumab showed fast and sustained efficacy on disease activity measures in both skin and joints and was well-tolerated.

A total of 52 patients were randomized to receive either bimekizumab (N=38) or placebo (N=14). It is designed for patients with PsA who had inadequate responses to at least one disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug and/or one biologic. These findings were presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2016) in London, England (8th – 11th June 2016).

Psoriatic arthritis affects about 0.3% to 1% of the population and is primarily characterised by joint and skin manifestations, with patients typically experiencing a combination of both psoriatic and arthritic symptoms causing skin and nail abnormalities and progressive, disabling joint damage and reduced quality of life.

Bimekizumab is an investigational humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody specifically designed to potently and selectively inhibit the biological function of both IL-17A and IL-17F, which are key pro-inflammatory cytokines involved in chronic inflammatory processes driving the pathophysiology of many severe diseases including skin and joint disorders, like PsA. 

Dominique Baeten, MD, PhD, Professor at the Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology of the Academic Medical Centre/University of Amsterdam, said: “These data strengthen our understanding of bimekizumab and how its unique mechanism of action, which inhibits both IL-17A and IL-17F cytokines, could provide clinical benefits to patients living with immunological diseases such as PsA.

“PsA is a very serious disease with a broad range of symptoms, including swelling and pain in the joints, which can significantly impact a patient’s life. While we’ve seen advancements in the treatment of PsA with the introduction of biologics, it’s crucial that we keep looking for newer and potentially better ways to control this devastating condition, especially in patients who aren’t responding to existing therapies.”

Emmanuel Caeymaex, Head of Immunology and Executive Vice President at UCB, Immunology Patient Value Unit, said: “The results of this study demonstrate the potential of bimekizumab for patients living with PsA, who are in constant need for new treatment options that can target uncontrolled inflammation and suppress both the difficult joint and skin-related symptoms they experience.

“With these study results, we can now confidently focus on progressing the bimekizumab clinical program and look forward to extending our robust immunology pipeline as part of our continued commitment to bringing more targeted treatment options to this patient community.”