PHARMACY

UCB, Immunomedics announce results of lupus biotech drug

BY Alaric DeArment

BRUSSELS, Belgium Patients receiving an investigational biotech drug for lupus got better results than those taking placebo, according to results of a mid-stage clinical trial released Thursday.

Belgian drug maker UCB and U.S. drug maker Immunomedics announced results of a Phase 2b study of the drug epratuzumab showing that of 227 patients with moderately to severely active lupus, those receiving the drug fared better by a 25% margin over those in the placebo group.

“Epratuzumab is the most advanced pipeline program in UCB’s immunology disease portfolio, and the positive results are significant for UCB as we continue to move our antibody-based programs ahead,” UCB CEO Roch Doliveux said in a statement. “These results may provide new hope for the hundreds of thousands of people around the world living with [lupus] as no new treatment has been approved for this life-altering disease in over five decades.”

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Bristol-Myers Squibb completes part of Medarex acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has completed the initial part of its $2.4 billion tender offer for a Princeton, N.J.-based biotech company, the New York-based drug maker announced Thursday.

Bristol said 87.7% of shares of Medarex had been offered for sale and that it would attempt to acquire the remaining 12.3%. The offer for the remaining shares will expire at midnight Monday.

Medarex develops monoclonal antibodies using its UltiMAb platform.

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Pfizer, Abbott to develop cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Drug makers Pfizer and Abbott Labs have announced they will develop a test and therapy for non small-cell lung-cancer tumors.

Pfizer has developed an investigational drug, code named PF-02341066, which selectively targets cancer-causing genes that cause many cancers to progress, but to be eligible to receive it, patients must have a particular rearrangement of the genes found in such cancers as NSCLC.

Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will develop a companion diagnostic test to determine whether patients in clinical trials can receive the drug.

“This test will allow us to focus on the patient population most likely to benefit from our NSCLC candidate, Pfizer Oncology Business Unit general manager Garry Nicholson said in a statement. “Working in close partnership with the experienced Abbott team, we are confident that we will deliver yet another application of personalized medicine to address a currently unmet medical need in NSCLC.”

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