A rational approach to compare and select biologic therapeutics in asthma

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2022 Apr;128(4):379-389. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2022.01.024. Epub 2022 Jan 31.


Objective: To review key literature on asthma biologic therapeutics-currently available and under investigation-to inform a rational approach to select biologics for the management of people with severe asthma by precision medicine.

Data sources: We used the PubMed database to review literature on biologic therapeutics in asthma.

Study selections: We included published randomized control trials and real-world studies on biologic therapeutics, available in English, through September 2021.

Results: Increased understanding of asthma endotypes and the roles of various inflammatory mechanisms has led to therapeutic agents that inhibit specific cytokines or immune pathways. Currently available biologic therapeutics target type 2-high asthma. Grouped by mechanisms of action, there are the following 3 types: (1) anti-immunoglobulin E, (2) anti-interleukin (IL)-5 or IL-5 receptor, and (3) anti-IL-4 receptor α. There are also various potential future biologic therapeutics currently under investigation. Although there remains a paucity of data regarding prospective direct head-to-head comparisons of biologic therapeutics in asthma, there are some retrospective and indirect comparison data available.

Conclusion: Precision medicine guides selection of biologic therapeutics along with shared decision-making. Biomarkers, although not comprehensive, allow approximations of likely mechanisms. Use of biomarkers, to include historical levels and trends, in addition to consideration of key clinical characteristics and comorbidities can greatly help guide biologic selection. Efficacy, safety, potential adverse effects, indications for other key comorbidities, and logistics should also be considered.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Asthma* / drug therapy
  • Biological Products* / pharmacology
  • Biological Products* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Biological Products