Pioneering new paths forward in psoriasis
April 21, 2021     

Renata M. Kisa, M.D. and worldwide medical lead of Dermatology in Bristol Myers Squibb’s Global Drug Development organization, discusses the company’s focus in dermatology research, how unmet needs drive the pipeline forward, and what motivates Bristol Myers Squibb to make a difference for patients.

Pioneering new paths forward in psoriasis

Estimated to impact at least 100 million people worldwide, the burden of living with psoriasis runs more than skin deep. From the physical impact and comorbidities to the emotional toll that may plague everyday life, many patients still struggle with inadequate disease control, often going untreated or undertreated, despite the myriad treatment options available. There is a significant need for new psoriasis treatment options, and at Bristol Myers Squibb, we are focused on innovative solutions that have the potential to transform care for people living with the disease.

The symptoms and impact of living with psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body, leading to chronic inflammation of the skin. The disease can affect both sexes equally and can initially present at any age. Up to 90 percent of patients that live with the disease have psoriasis vulgaris or plaque psoriasis, which is characterized by distinct, round or oval plaques typically covered by silvery white scales.

Patients with psoriasis experience a variety of symptoms, which can include:

  • itching
  • pain
  • burning or skin tightness
  • skin dryness
  • cracking
Renata M. Kisa

Renata M. Kisa, M.D., worldwide medical lead, Dermatology, Bristol Myers Squibb

Psoriasis is also associated with multiple serious comorbidities that may impact patients’ well-being, such as psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity and depression.

The burden of living with psoriasis extends well beyond the physical symptoms. People with psoriasis may experience social stigma that can lead to significant psychological distress, with studies showing that almost 90 percent of people with psoriasis experience a strain on their personal and professional relationships, causing a reduced quality of life and work productivity.

Many patients with psoriasis remain undertreated

The treatment journey for patients with psoriasis differs for every patient, and may include topicals, phototherapy, systemic orals and biologics. Despite the availability of these various treatment options, many patients still struggle to control their disease because they are frequently either undertreated or even untreated. Additionally, they may feel dissatisfied with their current treatment regimens or find it difficult to reach their treatment goals. Therefore, a significant need exists for additional effective and well-tolerated therapies.

A key pathway for psoriasis & immune-mediated diseases

At Bristol Myers Squibb, we are exploring selective inhibition of TYK2 (tyrosine kinase 2). TYK2 is a naturally occurring enzyme in the body, known as an intracellular signaling kinase, that has been shown to play a key role in several immune-mediated diseases, including psoriasis as well as psoriatic arthritis and IBD. TYK2 facilitates signaling of IL-23, IL-12 and Type I IFN, which are inflammatory cytokines overexpressed in psoriasis and other diseases.

By selectively inhibiting TYK2, we are targeting underlying disease pathways that are critical in the cycle of chronic inflammation contributing to these conditions.

Advancing patient care through scientific innovation

With a history of helping patients prevail over serious disease, Bristol Myers Squibb is focused on developing solutions for the psoriasis community with the hope of transforming care. Our pioneering exploration of pathways implicated in psoriasis and other immune-mediated diseases is leading to the potential for new innovations. Additionally, we are working closely with the community to understand how we can offer support that goes beyond the medicine.

As we move forward, our commitment is to help free patients from the burden of immune-mediated diseases like psoriasis, so that we can change lives for the better.

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About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. As global citizens, we work sustainably and responsibly to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.