13.05.2013 - Swiss Novartis AG has gained authorisation from the FDA to market its IL-2beta blocker Ilaris in childhood arthritis.
The market approval of Novartis’ immune system blocker canakinumab comes only two weeks after the FDA has cleared Roche’s first-in-class IL-6 receptor blocker Actemra (tocilizumab) for the treatment of active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) in children aged 2 years and older.
SJIA is a rare, debilitating form of arthritis in children that worsens over time and affects approximately 30 in 100,000 children. The approval of the Novartis once monthly subcutaneously administered human monoclonal antibody was based on two Phase III trials. The first one showed that 84% of patients treated achieved ACR30 versus 10% in the placebo arm at day 15. In an open-label part of the other study, 92 of 128 patients attempted corticosteroid tapering. 57 were able to reduce their use of corticosteroids, and 42 completely discontinued corticosteroids.
Roche had reported that 83% of patients that took its monthly intravenously administered IL 6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab as monotherapy achieved an ACR 30 response at week 16 compared to baseline. Additionally, Actemra-treated children experienced significantly fewer disease flares (26%) compared to placebo-treated patients (48%).
12.05.2015 US pharma is coming to European biotech to fill their pipeline. Pfizer is paying €77.5m for an option on Dutch AM-Pharma, while Juno Therapeutics acquired German biotech Stage Cell Therapeutics for around €72m.
26.05.2015 The Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea has joined the Dutch MEB in its stance on the interchangeability of biosimilars. The Fimea now sees physician-driven switching of biologics as unproblematic.
02.06.2015 After disappointing Phase III results for immunotherapy tasquinimod and the subsequent discontinuation of the prostrate cancer drug, Swedish Active Biotech is now severely downsizing its operations.
20.05.2015 The Scottish Government has announced it will double the amount of funds for rare diseases. The New Medicines Fund that was created last year for this purpose will be increased to £80m (€112m).
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