FDA approves Rituxan for rheumatoid arthritis

Genentech and Biogen Idec have received FDA approval to market the blockbuster Rituxan for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rituxan was originally approved for lymphoma and earlier this month was approved for a faster growing form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Last year the therapy racked up $1.83 billion in sales. Analysts believe that the competitive RA market is likely to add significantly to Rituxan's sales tally. Rituxan may quickly find itself in a market fight with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Orencia, which was recently approved for RA. Some give Rituxan, a drug with a long track record, the edge. In a late-stage trial, 51 percent of patients taking Rituxan and methotrexate had a significant improvement in symptoms. Twelve percent had an improvement of 70 percent or better.

- read this AP report for more information

ALSO: Lonza--which makes the biochemicals used in Rituxan--is another winner in the announcement. Report