Data Suggest Cost Savings for Biologics
New data indicate that ustekinumab (Stelara, Centocor) may be a cost-efficient biologic option in the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. Investigators compared the cost per responder of ustekinumab versus etanercept (Enbrel, Amgen) based on head-to-head data from the ACCEPT trial, which demonstrated greater efficacy for two doses of ustekinumab (either 45mg in patients less than 100kg or 90mg in patients more than 100kg; at weeks 0 and 4) compared to high-dose etanercept (50mg twice-weekly). At week 12, PASI 75 responses were 72 percent for ustekinumab 45mg and 65 percent for ustekinumab 90mg, compared with 57 percent for the etanercept group. At week 16, the wholesale acquisition cost per PASI 75 response was $17,009 for ustekinumab and $19,140 for etanercept patients. (International Society For Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research meeting, Atlanta)

New Combination Gel Shows Promise for Psoriasis
A new gel containing the combination of calcipotriol plus betamethasone dipropionate was found to be both safe and effective in the treatment of psoriasis in a recent study (Eur J Dermatol. 20;4:465-71). Investigators compared once daily treatment of the two-compound gel with the single components in the same gel vehicle and gel vehicle alone for eight weeks in 364 psoriasis patients. At week 8, the percentage of patients whose disease was clear or very mild and who had at least a two-step improvement in the IGA of disease severity was significantly higher with combination calcipotriol plus betamethasone dipropionate gel (27.2 percent) than with betamethasone dipropionate alone (16.9 percent), calcipotriol alone (11.4 percent) or gel vehicle (0.0 percent).

Zyclara NDA Accepted
Imiquimod 3.75% (Zyclara, Graceway) is both safe and effective in the treatment of external genital warts (EGW), according to a recent Phase III study.

After eight weeks of treatment, 33.8 percent of patients receiving imiquimod 3.75% cream achieved clearance of all warts, as compared to 11.5 percent of those on placebo. Of those who achieved initial complete clearance and entered the 12-week followup, complete clearance was sustained in 69.6 percent of treated patients. Results indicated that efficacy was greater in females than males for all primary and secondary measurements. These data, reported by Graceway, were included in a New Drug Application accepted for reviewed by the FDA for an eight-week treatment regimen of imiquimod 3.75% for the treatment of EGW.

Grant Opportunities

  • The Active Naturals Institute, an online resource of information and education on natural ingredients in skincare, is now accepting applications for its 2011 research grants. The Institute, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, is offering two $30,000 grants (one in the US and one in Europe). Winners will be announced at the 2011 AAD Meeting in New Orleans. For an application, log on to www.activenaturalsinstitute.com.
  • The National Rosacea Society is also accepting grant applications; information is available at rosacea.org. Deadline is February 15, 2011. The society just announced recipients of its 2010 grants, which will support research into possible dysfunctional regulation in the neurovascular system, with subsequent vascular and chronic inflammatory reactions, contributing to flushing and papules of rosacea; differences in sympathetic nerve activity in the facial skin of rosacea patients; and the effect of antibiotics used in the management of rosacea on the immortalized human sebocyte cell line (SZ95).
  • The LaRoche-Posay North America Foundation is accepting applications for its 2011 Research Awards. Two grants of $10,000 each will be awarded to dermatology residents, fellows, or new dermatologists in practice (up to two years). Proposals (one page abstract, research plan and budget, no more than 10 pages; curriculum vitae and letter of support from a mentor or chief of dermatology) should be postmarked no later than December 1, 2010. Proposals should be sent to Secretariat General of the Foundation, La Roche-Posay Laboratoire Dermatologique, 575 Fifth Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017, Attention: Jen Mendenhall.