Eli Lilly is giving up on tabalumab­ after the drug failed in two late-stage trials, this time for lupus.

The company notes that in the ILLUMINATE 1 study, tabalumab did not achieve the primary endpoint of statistically significant improvement on SRI-5 (a measurement of lupus disease activity and response), compared to standard of care therapy. However, in ILLUMINATE 2, a higher dose met this endpoint, “the first time a lupus study has achieved this efficacy measure as a primary endpoint in a Phase III trial”, Lilly said.

Nevertheless, collectively, the data from these studies “did not meet expectations for efficacy in the context of existing treatments”, the company noted. As such, it will not move forward with regulatory submissions to global regulators.

Anthony Ware, head of product development at Lilly Bio-Medicines., said the ILLUMINATE trials “are the largest Phase III clinical studies in lupus to date, and we are hopeful that our contribution of the extensive data from these studies will advance knowledge to enhance treatment in this devastating illness”. Lilly will take a $75 million R&D charge in the third quarter.

The lupus disappointment spells the definitive end for tabalumab which also failed as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in trials reported back in February last year.