October 20, 2014 / 6:32 PM / 3 years ago

FDA panel unanimously backs Novartis' psoriasis drug

The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its headquarters in Basel October 22, 2013.Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended the use of Novartis AG's anti-inflammation drug in patients with a type of psoriasis, paving the way for its approval.

The panel voted 7-0 in favor of the drug's use in plaque-psoriasis, the most common form of the painful, unsightly skin condition.

FDA staff reviewers last week had said the drug's benefits outweighed its risk.

The injectable biologic, secukinumab, is part of an eagerly anticipated class of drugs called IL-17 inhibitors that have shown unprecedented success in plaque-psoriasis.

This class of drugs targets the inflammation-causing protein interleukin-17 (IL-17), which plays a central role in psoriasis.

Kepler Chevreux analysts expect secukinumab to achieve peak sales of $701 million in 2020.

The FDA is not obligated to accept the panel's recommendations, but typically does so.

Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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