Tildrakizumab shows promise as psoriasis treatment

tekinumab, a monoclonal antibody (mAb) that targets the interleukin IL-23, is effective against psoriasis (pictured)

Ustekinumab, a monoclonal antibody (mAb) that binds the interleukin IL-12 subunit p40, which is shared by IL12 and IL23, is effective against psoriasis.

In a letter published in Nature (online, 9 March 2015)[1]
, Merck reports its phase I trial with the company’s new mAb, tildrakizumab, in 74 patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. By specifically targeting IL-23, the report says, tildrakizumab reduces psoriasis symptoms by 75%, and is safe and effective against the disease.

“The patients tolerated even the maximum doses of the mAb,” says Sauzanne Khalilieh, a scientist at Merck & Co. Kenilworth, New Jersey. Common side effects were headache, nasopharyngitis, upper respiratory infection and cough.

Merck has now started phase III trials and has entered into a licensing agreement with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, who will acquire worldwide rights to tildrakizumab. 

  • This article was updated on 31 March 2015 to clarify that ustekinumab targets both IL12 and IL23.


[1] Kopp T, Riedl E, Bangert C et al. Clinical improvement in psoriasis with specific targeting of interleukin-23. Nature 2015. doi:10.1038/nature14175.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 4/11 April 2015, Vol 294, No 7856/7;294(7856/7):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068234

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