Janssen Introduces New Treatment for Psoriasis


Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in Malaysia today launched TREMFYA™ (guselkumab), a new treatment for adult patients living with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

TREMFYA™ is one of the first biologics to selectively target or block a key protein (interleukin IL-23) that causes a specific immune inflammatory response in the body. Imbalances in the levels of this key protein can significantly contribute to psoriasis and cause the build-up of skin cells and patches associated with psoriasis. Gene based or cellular biologics may be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Biologics can be composed of sugars, proteins, nucleic acids or complex combinations of these substances, or may be living entities such as cells and tissues.

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Studies show that TREMFYA™, a subcutaneous biologic injectable treatment, offers patients long-lasting control of this persistent disease. Treatment with TREMFYA™ requires two starter doses; one at the beginning of treatment and the second one four weeks later, followed by one dose every eight weeks thereafter.

Present at the launch was Chin Keat Chyuan, Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson Malaysia and Sophia Lim, Head of Marketing, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson Malaysia together with Consultant Dermatologists, Dr. Ch’ng Chin Chwen and Dr. Peter Ch’ng Wee Beng, who shared more about psoriasis and the clinical data behind the psoriasis treatment.

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Psoriasis is a prevalent chronic inflammatory disease that affects approximately 0.5% – 1% of children and 2% – 3% of the world’s population. According to a study in the Medical Journal of Malaysia, 2% – 6% of new patients at dermatology clinics yearly are found to have psoriasis. Psoriasis affects both men and women and can flare up at any age, peaking at 15 – 25 years and 50 – 60 years. Plaque psoriasis, the most common type of psoriasis, affects approximately 85% – 90% of psoriatic patients.

Besides an immune dysfunction, psoriasis is also set-off by genetics and environmental triggers (physical trauma, drug reactivity, stress, obesity, smoking and alcohol) in combination with skin barrier disruption. Patients usually present thick, raised, red or inflamed skin covered with silvery scales (symmetrically distributed over their trunk and limbs) that tends to persist lifelong and fluctuates in extent and continue to build up on the skin’s surface until treatment stops the severity.

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Most patients with this debilitating disease suffer from immense physical and psychological issues. Their mental health and quality of life are affected and sadly, psoriatic patients face discrimination and stigma, with many eventually becoming reductive and experience loneliness, isolation, frustration and feelings of unattractiveness.

Psoriasis is also associated with several comorbidities including psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, including hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes mellitus, and Crohn’s disease.

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The randomised, double-blinded head-to-head fourth Phase 3 ECLIPSE Study evaluated the efficacy and safety of TREMFYA™ (guselkumab), an interleukin (IL)-23 inhibitor in adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

The study, involving 1,048 patients, showed that 84% of patients administered with TREMFYA™ were found to have achieved at least 90% improvement in their baseline Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) score at week 48.

58% of patients on TREMFYA™ also achieved PASI 100 response which is 100% clearance of psoriasis at week 48.

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There are currently on-going Phase 3 studies for TREMFYA™ for patients with psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

The long-term efficacy and safety of TREMFYA™ in treating psoriasis were also supported by several other key studies such as the VOYAGE 1 study. In the phase 3 VOYAGE 1 study, TREMFYA™ demonstrated long-term efficacy in which 82% of patients receiving TREMFYA™ continuously achieved at least 90% improvement in the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI 90) response at week 204 (4 years). TREMFYA™ was well tolerated in patients with psoriasis.

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“With the introduction of TREMFYA™ in Malaysia, it is important that the availability of this treatment that has been clinically proven to deliver consistent maintenance of efficacy reaches psoriatic patients. In line with this, Johnson & Johnson Malaysia is embarking on a patient awareness programme, “PsO Much More”, to emphasise how TREMFYA™ can offer significant skin clearance and improve the lives of those affected by psoriasis. Patients with psoriasis can certainly look forward to effectively manage their disease with lasting efficacy, regain their self-esteem and lead quality lives,” said Chin Keat Chyuan.

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