* FMF, TRAPS are rare diseases
* Drug reduced attack frequency by 50 pct in FMF patients
* Relieved symptoms in TRAPS patients for average 3 months
ZURICH, Nov 11 Novartis' Ilaris helps
reduce patients' symptoms and the frequency of attacks in two
rare inflammatory diseases, mid-stage studies showed, as the
Swiss drugmaker looks to expand the use of the medicine.
Results of two separate studies on Sunday in patients with
Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) and TRAPS - rare genetic
diseases which can cause fever, rash and joint pain - both met
their primary endpoints, Novartis said in a statement.
Both studies are being presented at the American College of
Rheumatology (ACR) meeting in Washington D.C.
Ilaris or ACZ885, which blocks a protein called
interleukin-1 beta that is thought to increase inflammation, is
already sold for treating cryopyrin-associated periodic
syndromes, a rare inflammatory disorder.
Novartis is also hoping to file the drug this year for
regulatory approval in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis
(SJIA), a debilitating disease that can affect a child's growth.
Results of the phase II study showed the drug helped 100
percent of FMF patients reduce the frequency of attacks by at
least 50 percent during three months of treatment.
Eight of the nine patients in the trial did not have an
attack during the three months and blood markers of inflammation
There are currently no approved treatments for FMF or TRAPS,
rare genetically-inherited anti-inflammatory diseases, which can
affect both children and adults.
Novartis is hoping to show the drug can be beneficial in
treating rare inflammatory diseases after receiving a setback
last year when U.S. health regulators rejected Ilaris for use in
gout over concerns about side effects.
New data from a mid-stage study on the use of Ilaris in
TRAPS showed that patients who came off therapy after being
treated with the drug did not have a relapse for three months on
Earlier data from the study showed that 90 percent of
patients experienced a significant improvement in symptoms after
just one week of treatment with Ilaris. This rose to 95 percent
after two weeks.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)