From the Journals

Etanercept biosimilar SB4 a cost-effective alternative for psoriasis, PsA



The development of biosimilars such as etanercept SB4 offers a “significant opportunity to decrease medical care cost and increase treatment options,” Alessandro Giunta, MD, of the department of dermatology at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and associates reported in a letter to the editor in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Dr. Giunta and his associates performed an observational, retrospective, single-center study to investigate etanercept biosimilar SB4 in patients being treated for plaque type psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). They evaluated 40 patients – 21 men and 19 women – mean age 55, ranging from 19 to 79 years. The patients received the etanercept biosimilar SB4 between Oct. 21, 2016, and March 31, 2017, at University of Rome Tor Vergata’s department of dermatology. (The etanercept biosimilar SB4 was approved April 29 by the Food and Drug Administration under the brand name Eticovo [etanercept-ykro]. It is also approved in other countries under the names Benepali and Brenzys.)

Accounting for erythrocyte sedimentation rate as a variable, Dr. Giunta and colleagues calculated disease activity scores based on 28 joints; 14 patients (35%) had plaque psoriasis (mean Psoriasis Area Severity Index [PASI] of 9.61 at baseline), while 26 (65%) had psoriatic arthritis (mean PASI, 4.69). All patients reported prior treatment with systemic conventional and biologic treatments. A group of 10 patients (25%) who had been previously treated with etanercept originator underwent an intermittent treatment regimen of 24 weeks with etanercept biosimilar, which was interrupted once clinical resolution was achieved. No treatments were prescribed between etanercept originator and etanercept biosimilar. Mean exposure was 50.4 weeks, ranging from 24 to 96 weeks, with an average washout period of 12.1 weeks from originator to biosimilar (range 8-24).

A significant improvement in mean PASI score was observed in plaque type psoriasis patients as well as psoriatic arthritis patients at week 24 (P less than .0001 and P less than .001, respectively), noted Dr. Giunta and associates.

“All scores achieved a statistical significant improvement with the exception of [swollen joint count] that markedly improved but not significantly,” they added. One patient experienced injection site reaction, but no serious adverse events were observed.

Despite low sample size and limited follow-up time, the authors concluded that etanercept biosimilar achieved effectiveness as a treatment for psoriatic patients even in cases involving previous exposure to originator etanercept. Cost savings of 61.58% for 50-mg treatment and 62.55% for 25-mg treatment respectively guaranteed “the continuity of etanercept-treated patients’ care and gave us the opportunity to allocate patients in innovative but more expensive agents with marginal increase in our annual budget,” they noted.

The authors reported serving as consultants and speakers for AbbVie, Biogen, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Pfizer, and Novartis.

SOURCE: Giunta A et al. Br J Dermatol. 2019 May 3. doi: 10.1111/bjd.18090.

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