Rituxan fails (again) in late-stage lupus trial

Genentech and Biogen Idec were taking it on the chin this morning after researchers announced that Rituxan had failed in a later-stage trial as a therapy for lupus. The failure won't harm the blockbuster's penetration of the markets for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. But the companies had high hopes for the drug's ability to treat a condition with few therapeutic options to pick from. Analyst estimated potential sales in that one category at more than a billion dollars.

Rituxan block B cells, which play a role in inflammation, and has already been put into use for lupus on an off-label basis. Rituxan also recently failed a late-stage trial for MS.

- here's the Rituxan release
- read the story in the Wall Street Journal

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