We’re Coming After Your Disease

Immune-mediated diseases are a major health problem that encompass more than 100 illnesses, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. It is estimated that four percent of the world’s population suffers from at least one of these diseases, and that percentage is on the rise.

BMS senior principal scientist Ryan Moslin has a message for those patients: “We’re coming after your disease.”

Although immune-mediated diseases are all different, they share the same cause: the patient’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body.

Ryan, a medicinal chemist, helped pioneer research efforts into the company’s selective tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor, deucravacitinib, which targets the immune responses that contribute to the development of immune-mediated diseases, including the psoriasis that has affected him since youth.

It started out with a scaly rash on his scalp and, over the years, progressed to other areas such as his torso and legs. “I’ve had psoriasis for so long now that I don’t know what it would be like not to live with the manifestations,” he said. “This is my normal.”

When he was getting married, Ryan underwent steroid injections for the nail on his ring finger, because he didn’t want to look down at the symbol of his marriage and think about psoriasis. As the nail grew in with no patches, he said, “I would find myself looking at it and feeling so good just to have that one tiny piece of normal.”

“As a researcher, I want to tell patients, ‘Thank you for being so patient. We are working hard to deliver this and other medicines to help transform lives.’ ”

– Ryan

He, like so many other patients, is waiting for an innovative treatment option for psoriasis. “It’s difficult not to feel self-conscious about it, especially when you catch people staring,” Ryan explained. He notices it most when he takes his two young daughters to the beach or the pool, where he tries to stay in the water to hide the rash on his legs. “If more people knew that it’s not contagious, maybe there would be less stigma attached to it,” he said.

Ryan has a unique perspective, as both a patient and a researcher, where he spends the bulk of his time looking for new ways to modulate the immune system to treat various diseases.

“Speaking as someone who is waiting for a treatment that is now going through the necessary steps to ensure safety and efficacy, I can understand the eagerness for a new option,” Ryan said. “As a researcher, I want to tell patients, ‘Thank you for being so patient. We are working hard to deliver this and other medicines to help transform lives.’ ”

Topline results of the first Phase 3 pivotal study evaluating deucravacitinib for patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, POETYK PSO-1, were announced in late 2020. Top line results of the second Phase 3 study, POETYK PSO-2, were announced in the first quarter of 2021. Phase 2 studies in psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis are ongoing.