Our candidate biosimilar to Stelara®* (active ingredient: ustekinumab) is targeted at several different therapeutic indications involving serious inflammatory diseases.
Current development status
Clinical phase I
Clinical phase III
Scope of therapeutic indication
Ustekinumab, a human monoclonal antibody which targets the cytokines interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, is used for the treatment of several different serious inflammatory diseases, such as moderate to severe psoriasis. Its therapeutic indications were extended to also include the treatment of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. In addition, the drug is also indicated for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.
Our development work
By applying dozens of analytical methodologies, we have been able to demonstrate its analytical comparability to the reference product. An efficient manufacturing process for our biosimilar candidate has been developed and is now in place.
The treatment of the last patient in the phase III clinical trial (VESPUCCI study) was successfully completed (last-patient-out) despite the current challenging environment for conducting clinical trials. Bioeq GmbH is the sponsor of the clinical study and responsible for the design and operative execution. We have, in addition, filed our own patent applications, such as in the area of drug formulation.
At the end of 2017, we have transferred the FYB202 project to a joint venture entity called “FYB 202 GmbH & Co. KG”, in which Formycon held a 24.9 percent interest. The remaining 75.1 percent have been owned by Berlin-based Aristo Pharma GmbH, which is part of Strüngmann Group. Based on a transaction in 2022, Formycon acquired the shares of Aristo Pharma GmbH and thus holds 100 percent of the project and commercialization rights to FYB202.
Stelara® is an expensive medication, with its price ranging from roughly EUR 4,500 for one low-dose application in the European Union to roughly USD 19,000 for a higher-dosed application in the United States.
Global sales of this relatively new drug were around USD 9.1 billion in 2021, with growth continuing at a rapid rate. The potential use of ustekinumab for additional therapeutic indications offers additional revenue potential.
The clinical phase III study met the primary efficacy endpoint, demonstrating comparable efficacy between FYB202 and the reference medicine Stelara® in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis vulgaris (plaque psoriasis). The primary endpoint measures the percent improvement of the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) at 12 weeks from baseline. In addition, to date, no clinically meaningful differences in safety and immunogenicity have been observed.
In the meantime the extended Phase I study has commenced. European and U.S. regulatory submissions for FYB202 are planned for the third quarter of 2023 following the availability of these additional pharmacokinetic data.
* Stelara is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson