Promise for the Future?
The age of biologics in the treatment of dermatological indications is upon us. Originally, one type of biological product, the therapeutic monoclonal antibody, was used to prevent the rejection of transplanted organ donors. Today, biologics have been used to develop over 900 medicines and treat more than 100 diseases, including asthma, leukemia and other cancers, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, infectious diseases and more. But the door has opened wide in the last 15 years for biologics in the treatment of various indications within dermatology.
Biologics hold promise for dermatological indications where treatments have been sparse. As explored in a recent article in Dermatology Times, biologics may be on the horizon for treating indications, such as hidradenitis suppurative. Currently there is only one approved biologic used to treat the condition, and it is only in adults. Christopher J. Sayed, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, believes this particular indication is a demonstration of how biologics can help specialty populations, often on their second or third-line treatments.
In a report entitled World Prescription Dermatological Drugs Market, 10th edition, an increased demand for solutions to dermatological conditions where biologics might be effective can be attributed to several factors, including “an increase in skin cancer incidence, new exciting biologics for psoriasis, increased demand by baby boomers -both men and women - for antiaging products, consolidation within the industry, and strong late stage pipeline entities.”
One of the largest areas of development for dermatological biologics is with the treatment of psoriasis. With the first approved biologic for the treatment of this disease in 2003, today there are 10 FDA approved biologics on the market to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
This demand can clearly be seen in the production and distribution of biologics worldwide. In 2016, according to ACS Chemical Neuroscience, seven out of the 10 top selling drugs were biologics. And three of the top five selling drugs are used to treat psoriasis (Humira®, Enbrel®, and Remicade®).