5. March 2012 12:41
Roche’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug RoActemra has shown greater effectiveness than Abbott’s market-leading rival Humira in a phase IV clinical test.
The ADACTA head-to-head study indicated that RoActemra (tocilizumab) performed better on all primary and secondary measures of clinical efficacy than Humira (adalimumab).
The trial result will boost Roche’s attempts to win market share for RoActemra, whose sales rose to $675m last year – a long way behind Humira’s $7.9bn.
Preliminary analysis showed a similar safety profile for the two drugs.
However, the antibody RoActemra is only available via an hour-long intravenous infusion, whereas Humira and other TNF inhibitors can be administered by subcutaneous injection.
Roche is developing a subcutaneous injection version of RoActemra, which will be filed for regulatory approval later this year.
The ADACTA study showed that patients given RoActemra achieved a significantly greater reduction in disease activity after 24 weeks than those given Humira.
RoActemra also performed better on key secondary endpoints including remission and low disease activity.
The finding reflects the growing importance of phase IV (head to head) trials in a pharmaceutical market driven by value-based pricing.