Dermipsor Posts Good Results From Nonsteroid Psoriasis Drug

Originally Dermipsor hoped its drug would reach the market in 2011. Now, given the meltdown of the financial systems, the launch will probably be delayed by a year.

Tests of a non-steroid therapy for plaque psoriasis went well, drug-development startup Dermipsor says.

Psoriasis is incurable: Dermipsor's drug, DPS-101, is designed to alleviate the symptoms, explains CEO Zeev Even-Chen. "Steroids have a whole list of side effects in the short and long run," he said. "There is one other non-steroid drug based on vitamin D, but its efficacy is low," he added. "Our product's efficiency is of the same amplitude as a steroid drug."

The Phase IIb test of DPS-101 was carried out over 12 weeks in several centers in Europe, and looked at a range of doses. It demonstrated statistically significant efficacy, Dermipsor says. The Rehovot-based startup, founded in 2004, expects to initiate a Phase 3 study in 2009, it says.

The drug was applied to 168 people - but treated each side of their body separately, so, as Dermipsor points out, it effectively had 336 test subjects.

Its goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of a range of different doses of nicotinamide, combined with a fixed concentration of calcipotriol, the two active ingredients.

Analysis of the results showed that half the patients receiving the highest dose of DPS-101 achieved a state of "clear to almost clear" at the end of the 12-week study, Dermipsor says.

It also found that high-doses of DPS-101 showed statistically significant efficacy relative to placebo.

The market for topical psoriasis treatments is worth more than a billion dollars a year, the company says: The condition affects between 2%-3% of the world's population.

Originally Dermipsor hoped its drug would reach the market in 2011. Now, given the meltdown of the financial systems, the launch will probably be delayed by a year, says Even-Chen.