AstraZeneca’s Drug to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Author: Usman Zafar Paracha
Published: December 13, 2012 at 5:36 am

AstraZeneca, a public limited multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnological company headquartered in London, has recently announced the results of OSKIRA-4 Phase IIb research of fostamatinib, a first kinase inhibitor with selectivity for SYK (spleen tyrosine kinase) and an oral drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

OSKIRA-4 was a six month study on 280 patients of rheumatoid arthritis to check the efficacy of the drug and compare it with the adalimumab; a rival drug (Humira by Abbott) and placebo.

The company has reported that although the drug proved effective than placebo but was not effective than adalimumab. Nick Fletcher of Guardian wrote this as “another drug disappointment”.  According to Panmure Gordon analyst Savvas Neophytou, the disappointment to match Humira's efficiency is "likely to limit the product's commercial potential". However, the experiment on 280 patients is not the authoritative proof for its less efficiency in the phase III trials.

“This Phase IIb dose finding study was designed to evaluate the effect of fostamatinib independent of methotrexate and to inform the further development of fostamatinib as a monotherapy treatment for RA. A more comprehensive assessment of the benefit/risk profile of fostamatinib used in combination with a DMARD is being undertaken in the pivotal studies that form the OSKIRA Phase III programme which are on track to report in the first half of 2013, and would form the basis of regulatory submissions.” Martin Mackay, President of AstraZeneca Research and Development said in a statement.

OSKIRA Phase III program that will be done on the drug with the combination of DMARD (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug) is likely to come in the second half of the next year. Those results would form the basis of regulatory submissions.

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Article Author: Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha has been blogging in science and technology for more than 6 years. He is CEO of Email: Twitter: @jeepakistan

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