RA Treatment Sirukumab Shows Mixed Results Against Humira

Both drugs target pro-inflammatory proteins

Sirukumab (Johnson & Johnson), an experimental treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has shown mixed results against top-selling adalimumab (Humira, AbbVie) in a large clinical trial, according to a Reuters report. By one measure, patients with moderate-to-severe RA treated with sirukumab demonstrated significantly greater improvement compared with those receiving adalimumab. But another comparison showed no significant benefits of one drug over the other.

The study enrolled 559 patients who could not tolerate or who had failed to benefit from standard-treatment methotrexate. After 24 weeks of therapy, those receiving sirukumab showed declines of 2.58 points with a low dose and 2.96 points with a high dose on a nine-point disease activity scale. That compared favorably with an average decline of 2.19 points for similar patients receiving adalimumab, allowing sirukumab to achieve one of its two primary endpoints.

However, although the signs and symptoms of RA were reduced by at least 50% among many patients, the proportion of those who achieved that goal was not significantly different across all treatment groups, according to another measure.

Serious adverse events occurred in 7% of the low-dose sirukumab group and in 3% of the high-dose patients, compared with 4% of those treated with adalimumab.

The study results were reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Washington.

Sirukumab is a human monoclonal immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1)-kappa antibody that targets the cytokine interleukin-6, a naturally occurring protein that is believed to play a role in the inflammatory process. Adalimumab works by blocking tumor necrosis factor (TNF), another protein involved in inflammation.

Source: Reuters; November 12, 2016.