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FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Approval of ACTEMRA(R) (tocilizumab) for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Date:7/29/2008

RA (tocilizumab)

ACTEMRA is the first humanized interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor-inhibiting monoclonal antibody. Studies suggest that reducing the activity of IL-6, one of several key cytokines involved in the inflammatory process, may reduce inflammation of the joints and relieve certain systemic effects of RA. The extensive clinical development program conducted by Roche includes five clinical studies and has enrolled more than 4,000 patients in 41 countries, including the United States. Five Phase III studies are completed and have reported meeting their primary endpoints. The LITHE trial evaluating ACTEMRA in RA is an ongoing two-year study and is expected to report complete data evaluating the effects of ACTEMRA on the inhibition of structural joint damage in 2009. ACTEMRA is awaiting approval in the United States and Europe.

ACTEMRA is part of a co-development agreement with Chugai, a Japanese company. In June 2005, ACTEMRA was launched by Chugai in Japan as a therapy for Castleman's disease; in April 2008, additional indications for rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis were also approved in Japan.

The serious adverse events reported in ACTEMRA clinical trials include serious infections, diverticular perforations, and hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis. The most common adverse events reported in clinical trials were upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, headache and hypertension. Increases in liver function tests (ALT and AST) were seen in some patients; these increases were generally mild and reversible, with no hepatic injuries or any observed impact on liver function. Laboratory changes, including increases in lipids (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides) and decreases in neutrophils and platelets, were seen in some patients without association with clinical outcomes.

About IL-6

IL-6 is a common protein found in all joints in the
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SOURCE Roche
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