Biocon to commence manufacture of an anti-psoriasis drug

May 10, 2013: Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated, non-contagious condition which produces scaly plaques on the epidermis of the skin. Typically an incurable condition, psoriasis attacks could be controlled by keeping the trigger points and stimuli in check, and commencement of prompt medical treatment upon the onset of an attack. Itchy red scaly skin is the hallmark of Psoriasis. Although quite a few treatment options are available, a withdrawal of on ongoing regimen such as corticosteroids could cause a rebound attack of psoriasis. Statistics reveal that 3% of the population in India suffers from this debilitating skin disorder.


Itolizumab is a biological agent, which has shown positive results in the management of this condition in preclinical studies. Bengaluru based Biocon would be further developing this drug and marketing it under the brand name Alzumab. Currently, Etanercept is one of the treatment options in use to relieve the discomfort caused due to Psoriasis. This drug, which was earlier indicated in the management of Rheumatoid- and Osteo-arthritis has proved to be fairly efficacious is alleviating the itchy symptoms and skin scaling brought about by Psoriasis. Etanercept therapy lasts for a span of 6 months with a typical expenditure of Rs. 2 lacs.


Alzumab is expected to be launched in the latter half of 2013 and the postulated sales of this novel biological is about 100 crores by the year 2018. Alzumab would be delivered as an infusion and this preparation will be manufactured at Biocon’s unit in Bengaluru.


The Drug Controller General of India has cleared Alzumab for marketing, post successful clinical trials in a larger, multi-center population study.


Biocon is in the process of filing an IND (Investigational New Drug) application with the USA, following which clinical trials will commence.


This promising new therapy, would be a boon to patients living with psoriasis. Although it won’t cure the condition, it would be able to deliver an improvement in the patient’s existing quality of life.

Dr. Jay Shinde

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