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Advisory Committee Recommends Approving Ustekinumab for Treatment of Moderate-to-Severe Plaque Psoriasis

HORSHAM, Pa., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Centocor, Inc. announced today that the Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee (DODAC) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has unanimously recommended the approval of ustekinumab, a new subcutaneous, investigational biologic therapy for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Ustekinumab is a new human monoclonal antibody with a novel mechanism of action that targets the cytokines interleukin-12 (IL-12) and interleukin-23 (IL-23), naturally occurring proteins that are important in the body's regulation of immune responses and that are also believed to play an important role in psoriasis.

"We are very pleased with the advisory committee's support for the approval of ustekinumab," stated Jerome A. Boscia, M.D., Senior Vice President, Clinical, Centocor R&D. "For many patients, psoriasis is a serious disease, and they are in need of additional treatment options. It is our hope that the FDA will consider this recommendation and, upon completion of its review process, make ustekinumab available to patients with moderate to severe psoriasis."

The committee reviewed data from one of the largest biologic clinical programs in psoriasis, which included two large Phase 3 multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of ustekinumab involving more than 2,000 patients. Results of these Phase 3 trials were recently published in The Lancet, which showed that a majority of patients treated with ustekinumab experienced significant skin clearance by week 12 and sustained efficacy through at least week 76 with ustekinumab maintenance therapy every 12 weeks. In December 2007, Centocor announced that a Biologics License Application had been submitted to the FDA.

DODAC is convened on request of the FDA to review and evaluate safety and efficacy data of human drug products for use in the treatment of dermatologic and ophthalmologic conditions. The committee provides non-binding recommendations based on its evaluation; however, final decisions on approval of the drug are made by the FDA.

About Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated disease, caused by the overproduction of skin cells, resulting in their accumulation on the surface of the skin, which causes red, scaly plaques that may itch and bleed. It is estimated that 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis, including two percent of both the U.S. and European populations, or some 7.5 million Americans and 10 million Europeans. Nearly one-quarter of people with psoriasis have cases that are considered moderate to severe.

About Ustekinumab
Ustekinumab is a new, human monoclonal antibody in Phase 3 development by Centocor, Inc. for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, and is being investigated as an infrequently administered subcutaneous injection. Ustekinumab is a novel biologic therapy that targets interleukin 12 (IL-12) and interleukin 23 (IL-23), naturally occurring proteins that are important in regulating the immune system and that are also believed to play a role in psoriasis.

Source: Centocor

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