Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an orphan, systemic autoimmune disease with no FDA-approved treatments. Its heterogeneity and rarity often result in underpowered clinical trials making the analysis and interpretation of associated molecular data challenging. We performed a meta-analysis of gene expression data from skin biopsies of SSc patients treated with five therapies: mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), rituximab, abatacept, nilotinib, and fresolimumab. A common clinical improvement criterion of -20% OR -5 modified Rodnan Skin Score was applied to each study. We developed a machine learning approach that captured features beyond differential expression that was better at identifying targets of therapies than the differential expression alone. Regardless of treatment mechanism, abrogation of inflammatory pathways accompanied clinical improvement in multiple studies suggesting that high expression of immune-related genes indicates active and targetable disease. Our framework allowed us to compare different trials and ask if patients who failed one therapy would likely improve on a different therapy, based on changes in gene expression. Genes with high expression at baseline in fresolimumab non-improvers were downregulated in MMF improvers, suggesting that immunomodulatory or combination therapy may have benefitted these patients. This approach can be broadly applied to increase tissue-specificity and sensitivity of differential expression results.