Roche drug improves lung function in patients with uncontrolled asthma, study finds

Swiss drug maker releases phase-2 trial results

BASEL, Switzerland — An investigational treatment made by Roche for asthma increased lung function in patients who could not adequately control their disease with inhaled corticosteroids, according to results of a mid-stage clinical trial.

Results of the phase-2 "MILLY" study of lebrikizumab were published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The drug is a humanized monoclonal antibody designed to block interleukin-13 cytokine, a key contributor to asthma that also increases levels of the protein periostin, which can be measured with a blood test.

"The findings of the MILLY study and the development of a potential biomarker have shown that we may be able to select appropriate asthma patients for lebrikizumab therapy," said Richard Scheller, EVP Genentech Research and Early Development, a division of Roche. "These results support further investigation of lebrikizumab as a personalized medicine for patients who suffer from moderate to severe uncontrolled asthma."

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