PHARMACY

UCB’s Cimzia improves rheumatoid arthritis condition among patients in study

BY Alaric DeArment

BRUSSELS — Patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis who respond to 12 weeks of treatment with a drug made by UCB are more likely to show improvement in their condition in the long run, according to results of a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology.

The “RAPID 1” study of UCB’s Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) showed that patients who achieved a clinical response after 12 weeks of taking the drug together with methotrexate had a much higher probability of maintaining low levels of disease activity after a year, compared with those who did not show a response after 12 weeks.

“These results are consistent with a growing body of clinical evidence that suggest a potential for healthcare professionals to predict clinical success as early as week 12 when treating rheumatoid arthritis patients with certolizumab pegol,” said Edward Keystone, the lead investigator and a doctor at the Rebecca MacDonald Center for Arthritis of the University of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

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Genentech seeks regulatory approval for vemurafenib

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Genentech is seeking approval for a new drug to treat skin cancer, the company said Wednesday.

Genentech, part of Swiss drug maker Roche, announced that it had submitted a regulatory approval application to the Food and Drug Administration for RG7204 (vemurafenib), a treatment for BRAF V600 mutation-positive melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body, also known as metastasis. Melanoma is the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer. The drug is designed to inhibit a mutated form of the BRAF protein found in about half of melanoma cases.

“We have worked swiftly to advance the vemurafenib development program, knowing that patients with metastatic melanoma have a poor prognosis and limited options,” Genentech chief medical officer and head of global product development Hal Barron said. “The regulatory submissions of vemurafenib and the companion diagnostic to identify people with the type of melanoma specifically targeted by this medicine are exciting steps toward our goal of delivering a personalized therapy for this disease.”

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Activant inks deal with RDC

BY Alaric DeArment

LIVERMORE, Calif. — An independent wholesale drug cooperative will promote Activant Solutions’ point-of-sale software system to its members, Activant said.

The Rochester Drug Cooperative, which services more than 950 retail pharmacies, long-term care pharmacies and healthcare stores in the Northeast and Ohio, will recommend the Activant Eagle system its members. Activant Eagle allows independent pharmacies to manage all parts of their operation, including point-of-sale, inventory management, financials, purchasing, payroll and marketing.

“As margins on pharmaceutical sales continue to shrink, more and more independent pharmacies are focusing on front-of-store performance,” Activant EVP Paul Salsgiver said. “Activant is very pleased to work with [RDC] to help their members become more efficient and competitive retailers.”

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