*Roche presents data on arthritis drugs
*MabThera study shows multiple courses help treatment
*MabThera well tolerated over the long term
*Fifth Phase III Actemra study confirms disease remission
ZURICH, Oct 27 Swiss drugmaker RocheROG.VX
said on Monday new data showed its drug MabThera continued to
improve patient response in rheumatoid arthritis with multiple
courses of treatment and that it was well tolerated over the
The group said patients in the study had not responded
adequately to another class of rheumatoid arthritis drug known
as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, which is the most
commonly prescribed first-line biologic therapy.
"Prolonged treatment with MabThera clearly demonstrates an
improvement in symptoms for patients with rheumatoid arthritis
who do not respond adequately to TNF inhibitor therapy," said
Professor Edward Keystone, Rheumatology Department at the
University of Toronto, Canada.
In a separate statement, Roche said a fifth Phase III study
had confirmed a "significant rate of disease remission" in
patients treated with Actemra and that the drug can stop
structural damage to joints as well as improve patients'
physical function after one year of treatment.
Earlier in October Roche said it was still discussing what
additional information is required for approval of Actemra with
U.S. regulators after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
requested more information related to the manufacturing of the
Roche is presenting the data at the American College of
Rheumatology's annual meeting in San Francisco.
(Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Greg Mahlich)