Results of a phase 3 clinical trial dubbed TRuE-AD2 showed that Incyte's (NASDAQ:INCY) ruxolitinib cream helped patients with atopic dermatitis, an autoimmune disease commonly referred to as eczema. Shares of Incyte were up about 1% on the news in early afternoon trading Tuesday.

After eight weeks of treatment, both the 0.75% and 1.5% doses helped more patients reach an Investigator's Global Assessment (IGA) score of clear or almost clear with at least a two-point improvement in IGA compared to patients using the base cream without the medication.

Incyte didn't disclose the number of patients who met the goal in each treatment group. As biotech companies are apt to do, it's saving the more-detailed data for an upcoming scientific meeting. Additional data from another phase 3 clinical trial in patients with eczema (TRuE-AD1) is also expected this quarter.

Dermatologist examining a patient's arm

Image source: Getty Images.

Ruxolitinib works by inhibiting Janus kinase proteins, which are involved in the activation of the immune system and bone marrow cells. The drug is also the active ingredient in Incyte's Jakafi, an oral tablet approved to treat polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis, and graft-versus-host disease that involve aberrant activation of the immune system or bone marrow. The cream version is also being tested in patients with vitiligo, a skin disease in which the immune system attacks pigment-producing cells, resulting in patches of skin that are white or lighter than the surrounding skin.

Incyte has also developed another oral Janus kinase inhibitor, Olumiant, with its partner Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY). On Monday, the duo posted positive data for the drug in patients with eczema. Olumiant is already approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

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