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New Psoriasis Drug Shown More Effective Than On-Market One

July 10, 2023 ( Newswire) Recent clinical trial results show the oral interleukin-23 receptor to be a “cleaner” target than non-receptor tyrosine kinase 2, noted a BTIG report.

Protagonist Therapeutics Inc.’s (PTGX:NASDAQ) investigative drug for psoriasis, PN-235/JNJ-2113, was shown, in new study data, to be more efficacious than Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Sotyktu, reported BTIG analyst Julian Harrison in a July 3 research note. Continuing weakness in Protagonist’s shares translates into a “buying opportunity.”

The current share price of the biopharma is about US$27.62 per share. In comparison, BTIG’s target price on it is US$41 per share. Based on these prices, the projected return for investors in Protagonist is 45%.

The company remains Buy rated.

Source of New Data

The new data are from the FRONTIER-1 Phase 2b proof of concept trial for JNJ-2113, formerly PN-235, in mild to moderate-severe plaque psoriasis in adults and were presented in an abstract at the recent World Congress of Dermatology annual dermatology meeting, Harrison relayed.

Protagonist has a license and collaboration agreement pertaining to PN-235 with Janssen Biotech, which is advancing the drug.

Superior Efficacy Shown

In FRONTIER-1, JNJ-2113, an oral interleukin-23 receptor (IL-23R) antagonist, demonstrated efficacy, as measured by Psoriasis Area and Severity Index, or PASI, scores, that is better than that shown in the Phase 3 psoriasis study of Sotyktu, an oral tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor, reported Harrison. A PASI70 score represents a 75-89% improvement from a patient’s baseline PASI score, and a PASI90 score, a 90% improvement.

Specifically, at week 16, of the patients in FRONTIER-1 given 100 milligrams (100 mg) of JNJ-2113 once a day, 65% had a PASI75 response, and 78.6%, a PASI90 response.

In comparison, also at week 16, of the patients given Sotyktu 6 mg once a day, 53-58% reached PASI75; 27-36% hit PASI90.

“Overall, we view IL-23R as a much cleaner target than TYK2,” deduced Harrison.

‘Pipeline in a Product’

Harrison pointed out that JNJ-2113 has the potential to be a pipeline in a product or used as treatment for some medical conditions other than psoriasis if the FRONTIER-1 safety data are positive.

JNJ-2113, wrote Harrison, “could have a range of blockbuster market opportunities in other inflammation and immunology indications with significant IL-23 contribution, including psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.”

Next Developmental Step

Given the strength of the FRONTIER-1 Phase 2b results, it is expected that Janssen will advance JNJ-2113 to Phase 3, Harrison noted.

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