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FDA approval for UCB RA drug


UCB announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cimzia, the only PEGylated anti-TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor), for the treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Cimzia can be dosed at 400 mg initially and at weeks two and four, followed by 200 mg every other week; for maintenance dosing, 400 mg every four weeks can be considered.

In clinical trials with Cimzia, together with methotrexate (MTX), patients experienced a significant reduction in the signs and symptoms of RA at week 24 with some showing clinical responses within one to two weeks, compared with MTX alone.

Additionally, radiographic data showed Cimzia, together with MTX, inhibited progression of joint damage, with a significantly smaller change from baseline in modified Total Sharp Score (TSS) at 24 and 52 weeks of treatment, compared with MTX alone.

“The approval of Cimzia for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in the US is a major milestone for UCB, and most importantly, for people seeking a new treatment option to manage this debilitating condition,” said Roch Doliveux, Chief Executive Officer of UCB.

“UCB is committed to developing new therapies, such as Cimzia, to help meet the needs of patients living with rheumatoid arthritis and other immune diseases. I am also proud of our partnership with OXO® and of the fact that RA patients were directly involved in the design and development of our new prefilled syringe, which is designed to make self-administration easy for people living with rheumatoid arthritis.”

The new prefilled Cimzia syringe is now also available for subcutaneous self-administration to US patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy.

The FDA approval is based on UCB’s comprehensive clinical program, including data from four multi-center placebo-controlled phase III trials, involving more than 2 300 patients with RA and over 4 000 patient-years experience. Cimzia has been studied at dosing intervals of two or four weeks, and administered together with MTX or as monotherapy.

In the pivotal clinical trials, reported serious adverse reactions were infections including tuberculosis and malignancies including lymphoma. The most commonly occurring adverse events were upper respiratory tract infections, rash and urinary tract infections. A pooled analysis of the safety data show there was a low incidence of injection site pain (<2%) and a low level of discontinuations due to adverse events (5%).

“People with RA have pain and swelling of joints with stiffness and fatigue which makes it difficult for them to perform many activities of daily living, sometimes making it a struggle to even get out of bed,” said Roy Fleischmann, Clinical Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

“With the approval of Cimzia, I now have another alternative to offer my patients in an easy-to-use treatment that improves quality of life and inhibits structural damage.”

It is estimated that 5 million people suffer from RA globally. In the United States alone, an estimated 1.3 million people have the disease. Prevalence is not split evenly between genders, since women are three times more likely to be affected than men. Although RA can affect people of all ages, the onset of the disease usually occurs between 35-55 years of age.


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