Roche posts strong data from RA trials

Angling to compete with the anti-TNF crowd, Roche released positive late-stage data on Actemra, one of the leading experimental therapies to target interleukin-6, an inflammatory protein. Researchers say the drug was effective against rheumatoid arthritis in the second of five planned late-stage studies. After 24 weeks of a combined therapy including Actemra, 61 percent of the volunteers reported a reduction of symptoms greater than 20 percent compared to 25 percent of the volunteers who took a combination therapy of an older disease modifying therapy and a placebo.

"We are very encouraged by the findings of this new TOWARD data which suggest Actemra plus DMARDs demonstrates significant improvement in RA symptoms compared with DMARDs alone," said Mark C. Genovese, M.D., lead study investigator of the TOWARD trial and associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. "The data from both studies further establish the efficacy of Actemra and confirm that inhibiting interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor is a novel method of reducing RA symptoms."

- check out release for more info
- here's the Dow Jones report on the trial data