Johnson & Johnson’s esketamine nasal spray continues to build a body of evidence showing it can go toe-to-toe with tough-to-treat depression.
Wednesday, J&J’s Janssen unit rolled out data from the phase 3b ESCAPE-TRD trial pitting its esketamine spray Spravato against extended-release quetiapine, formerly marketed by AstraZeneca as Seroquel XR before the British drugmaker pawned off the rights to Cheplapharm in late 2019.
Seroquel and Seroquel XR are primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Their patents have lapsed in the U.S., meaning generics are widely available.
In the study of patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, J&J’s Spravato bested extended-release quetiapine in helping subjects hit remission on the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale at the trial’s eight-week mark, Janssen said in a release. Spravato also met its key secondary endpoint by helping patients remain relapse-free up to 32 weeks.
ESCAPE-TRD looked at a total of 676 adults with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), 336 of whom received Spravato, compared with 340 on extended-release quetiapine. Both cohorts were also given a continuing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.
Digging deeper into the results, 27.1% of Spravato patients hit remission at eight weeks, versus 17.6% of patients on quetiapine. Further, remission rates for patients on Spravato continued to increase after that time, with 55% in remission at 32 weeks compared with 37% of patients in the comparator cohort.