Abbott’s new arthritis drug, Humira (adalimumab), resulted in one-third of patients achieving clinical remission from the inflammatory bowel condition Crohn’s disease, according to new data presented at the Digestive Disease Week meeting.

After 24 weeks, 78% of patients saw a decrease of more than 70 points from baseline in their Crohn’s Disease Activity Index – a composite score of eight clinical factors that evaluate patient wellness. Of the 220 patients enrolled in the trial, 33% achieved clinical remission, defined as a CDAI of less than 150.

“Crohn’s disease is a serious and often disabling illness. The fact that 75% of people with the disease will at some time require surgery indicates the importance of finding treatments that may induce sustained response and remission,” said William Sandborn of the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School. “These new data are promising because patients not only showed clinically meaningful improvement during the six-month study, but their response continued to improve over time.” Crohn’s disease affects approximately 500,000 people in the USA alone.

Humira marked a sea-change in the antibody field as the only fully human monoclonal antibody approved by the US Food and Drug Administration rheumatoid arthritis – and is expected to be one of the drivers of the market [[10/05/05g]]. Abbott saw Humira’s turnover rise 89% during the first quarter of this year to $282 million helped by a 150% rise in ex-US sales to $118 million. Although the growth rate for Humira has declined slightly from its phenomenal take-up in 2004, the company is still forecasting full-year sales of $1.3 billion for this product [[13/04/05d]].