Patients living with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), now have a treatment available to address the rare, potentially life-threatening skin disease.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved Boehringer Ingelheim’s Spevigo (spesolimab-sbzo) injection for patients over the age of 12 living with GPP. 

The disease is best characterized by the presence of painful sterile pustules all over the body and flare ups which can ultimately lead to heart failure, renal failure or sepsis, and in some cases can lead to death. 

The agency’s decision came after the drugmaker released positive data from its Effisayil 2 clinical trial, which found Spevigo reduced the risk of GPP flares by 84% compared to the placebo. With the approval, Spevigo is now available for use in 48 countries.

Victoria Brown, SVP of immunology and oncology at Boehringer Ingelheim, told MM+M that one of the most critical aspects of Spevigo is its ability to offer patients long-term control and prevention of GPP flare ups.

While this provides them with relief of physical symptoms, it also gives them peace of mind and lessens their anxiety.

“Being able to do something to prevent [those flare ups] and address more of those underlying residual symptoms is what the community is most excited about,” she said. 

With approval in hand, Brown said the German pharma giant is now pivoting its efforts to educating patients, healthcare providers and prescribers as well as increasing awareness of GPP in general. 

She added that the company has been in contact with patient groups and payers to ensure that Spevigo is appropriately priced so that patients can maintain access to the treatment. 

Boehringer Ingelheim has long been dedicated to developing a treatment for GPP and supporting the disease’s patient population. One of the ways they’ve done so is through the arts.

On Rare Disease Day 2023, Boehringer Ingelheim and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) announced a partnership to extend The Unwearable Collection illustrating the physical and emotional pains associated with GPP.

Over the summer, the four designs created by fashion designer Bart Hess and FIT students were unveiled at the college’s campus in Chelsea. The designs were created with raw materials like shards of glass, paper, knives and razor blades to underscore the pain felt by people living with GPP.

Brown noted that the drugmaker remains committed to the rare disease space, particularly in the dermatological space, and has plans to invest additional resources to develop treatments that address the unmet needs of patients suffering from various conditions.