LLY on INCY : Rheumatoid Arthritis Review – Focus Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly, along with Incyte (NASDAQ: INCY), has been involved in the study of baricitinib, an orally available janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, for treatment of patients with moderate to severe RA who had an inadequate response to treatment with methotrexate. Independently, the company has also been studying, anti-B-cell activating factor (BAFF) drug – tabalumab.
Baricitinib is into Phase III development as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and it is in Phase II development as a potential treatment for psoriasis and diabetic nephropathy.
Last month, according to a mid-stage extension study presented in a medical meeting, baricitinib maintained its effectiveness in alleviating symptoms of pain after 24 weeks of treatment. MRI tests revealed that the two highest doses of the drug also effectively restricted joint damage. Earlier, in June 2012, the companies had released positive data after 12 weeks of treatment of patients with mild to moderate rheumatoid arthritis who had inadequate response to methotrexate.
Unlike tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) drugs that need to be injected, baricitinib is an oral drug that will allow patients to avoid the discomfiture of taking injections
The company has a lot riding on the outcome of the baricitinib study. Based on the Phase II studies, it is potentially safer and more effective than Pfizer’s Xeljanz. With very encouraging Phase III results in mid-stage extension study, all it needs is to further confirm the MRI findings and establish that it inhibits progression of bone damage, which the trials of the Pfizer drug had difficulty in establishing