Faced with stiff and growing competition in the autoimmune arena, Genmab and GlaxoSmithKline are tossing out their planned development program for an intravenous formulation of ofatumumab in favor of a more easily administered injectable.
Ofatumumab is approved to treat leukemia under the name Arzerra. But the biopharma companies are also teamed on developing a new formulation for big market diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis--two indications that are getting close attention in the drug development world.
"Although the intravenous delivery of ofatumumab has previously demonstrated positive results in MS and RA studies, the autoimmune program is being refocused on the subcutaneous delivery of ofatumumab because GSK believes this route of administration has the potential to offer added convenience and improved tolerability" says Ian Tomlinson, GSK's SVP Biopharmaceuticals R&D.
The collaboration between Genmab and GlaxoSmithKline has undergone several changes this year. In July, the two companies agreed that GSK would be solely responsible for developing ofatumumab for autoimmune indications while they continued to work together in oncology.
- here's the Genmab release
- see the Reuters report