Novartis Drug Helps Patients with Severe Childhood Arthritis
The Novartis drug Ilaris helps patients with the most severe form of childhood arthritis, according to results from a second late-stage study.
Ilaris, or ACZ885, met both of its main goals in the phase III trial of its use in treating systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA), a debilitating and painful disease that can affect a child's growth and can even be fatal, Novartis said on Monday, according to Reuters.
The phase III trial showed that 45 percent of children with active SJIA could substantially reduce the amount of steroids they were using to treat the illness within 28 weeks of taking Ilaris. The trial also showed that children taking Ilaris were nearly three times less likely to suffer a new flare compared with taking the placebo, Novartis said, according to Reuters.
"We have had two positive trials that show the drug is very promising for these patients," John Hohneker, head of development for integrated hospital care at Novartis, told Reuters.
Ilaris, which is already used to treat cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes, a rare inflammatory disorder, works by blocking a protein called interleukin-1 beta linked to inflammation.
According to Reuters, Novartis plans to file for regulatory approval of the drug in SJIA in 2012 in both the United States and Europe, based on data from this and an earlier Phase III trial.