GlaxoSmithKline, J&J to start rheumatoid arthritis drug trial

Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:13am EDT

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(Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Biologics said on Thursday they have begun late-stage trial testing of a new treatment for moderately active to severely active rheumatoid arthritis.

The trial is evaluating sirukumab, or CNTO 136, a human anti-interleukin (IL)-6 monoclonal antibody. The Phase III program comprises two studies.

One, dubbed SIRROUND-T, includes patients whose disease is active despite anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy. The second, dubbed SIRROUND-D, includes patients with active rheumatoid arthritis despite anti-rheumatic drug therapy.

The studies are multi-center, randomized trials that compare the drug - administered under the skin - with a placebo. Both are double-blinded, meaning neither the patients nor the researchers will know which patients will get the real drug and which the dummy pill.

Sirukumab is an investigational drug that is not approved to treat any disease anywhere in the world.

(Reporting by Debra Sherman; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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