India’s leading biotech firm Biocon has unveiled a new drug to treat psoriasis, a skin disease that occurs when the immune system mistakes a normal skin cell for a pathogen. “Psoriasis is a socially debilitating disease affecting around three percent of the world population and two percent of India’s 1.2 billion people. The global psoriasis market size is estimated to cross $8 billion by 2016,” the company said in a statement here Sunday. Touted to be the world’s novel biologic treatment for psoriasis patients in the country, the company’s Alzuma is aimed at addressing the unmet need of the affected people. “The drug is an outcome of our path-breaking research and will bring a paradigm shift in the management of skin disorder. The molecule has potential to treat multiple auto-immune diseases and make a difference to a larger patient population worldwide,” Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said in the statement. Formulated as an infusion drug to treat moderate-to-sever psoriasis, Alzuma will be manufactured after regulatory clearances at the company’s facility on the city’s outskirts. “With a unique mechanism of action, the drug offers safety and similar efficacy profile compared to other therapies, and has a long remission period with very low opportunistic infection rate,” Shaw said. The new drug has also demonstrated pre-clinical and post-clinical evidence in treating other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and multiple sclerosis. “We are committed to address the unmet need of patients suffering from psoriasis through the new drug, which has better safety and efficacy profile to patients with longer remission periods and lower infection rates,” Biocon president (marketing) Rakesh Bamzai in the statement.