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Roche: RoActemra beats Humira
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Roche: RoActemra beats Humira

08.06.2012 - Roche's rheumatoid arthritis treatment RoActemra reduces symptoms more effectively than Abbott Laboratories' Humira when given as a single treatment.

Basel – As the Swiss company reported, a Phase IV trial showed that after 24 weeks of treatment 65% of patients who received RoActemra (tocilizumab) experienced a 20% reduction in swollen and tender joints compared with 49% of those on Humira (adalimumab). „As there are a number of therapies approved for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, it is important for them and their healthcare provider to have the information they need to choose the best individual treatment option,“ said Hal Barron, Chief Medical Officer and Head, Global Product Development. While Roche strongly advocates for its RoActemra, Analysts seem to be less convinced: „Despite these strong efficacy results, it is difficult to assess whether these trial results can be successfully exploited to bring about a change in physicians' prescription habits,“ said Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss.

„Among a treatment environment of nine different medicines, it is very difficult to make an individual treatment decision for the physician“, acknowledged Karsten Jung, Head of GPS Immunology at Roche, adding that the study aimed at giving comparative data to doctors to help them to decidea in favor of RoActemra when prescribing a treatment.

FDA and EMA have approved RoActemra for use in patients who are either intolerant to or have failed to respond to other medicines to treat inflammation. Roche earned CHF184m in the first quarter 2012 (+46%). Analysts expect peak sales of up to US$2b for the drug. Rheumatoid arthritis and related diseases are one of the most lucrative areas for pharma companies, generating more than US$20b in annual sales. Humira sales are expected to reach US$8.7bn in 2012, according to an EvaluatePharma report.

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