LONDON May 12 AstraZeneca, fighting a
$106 billion bid approach from Pfizer, received a fillip
on Monday as two experimental drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and
lupus met their goals in mid-stage clinical trials.
Mavrilimumab produced a rapid improvement in signs and
symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, while sifalimumab reduced
disease activity in patients with lupus in Phase IIb tests, the
Both new drugs were developed by MedImmune, the U.S.-based
biotech company acquired by AstraZeneca in 2007 that is
responsible for many of the more promising compounds in the
British company's pipeline.
The two drugs were among those highlighted by AstraZeneca
management in a presentation last week, designed to prove the
group had a bright future as an independent concern.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Goodman)