The novel rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab) has shown superiority over the current standard of care, methotrexate (MTX), by achieving a greater reduction of signs and symptoms (e.g. swollen and tender joints) at six months in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This positive outcome makes Actemra the first and only biologic therapy to have achieved superiority over MTX.
Furthermore, two other studies presented today to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) congress in Paris showed that nearly three times as many patients treated with Actemra achieved disease remission (as defined by the globally recognised measure DAS28 <2.6), the ultimate goal of treatment in this currently incurable condition.
The outcome is significant as RA is a debilitating long-term disease and current medicines give little hope of remission or cure â€“ as such new treatment options are urgently needed.
William M Burns, CEO of Rocheâ€™s Pharma Division said: â€œThe latest study data are encouraging news for patients suffering from the devastating effects of rheumatoid arthritis.
â€œAs the first and only biologic treatment to demonstrate superiority to the current standard of care in early treatment for RA, we believe Actemra will offer more patients relief from their debilitating symptoms. Additionally, Actemra provides patients with a better chance for an early and durable remission.â€