Denmark’s Genmab has published positive results from an interim analysis

of the first 100 patients in its ongoing Phase II rheumatoid arthritis

study with the human antibody HuMax-CD20.

The data showed that a statistically significant proportion of patients on

active treatment obtained a 20% improvement in the American College of

Rheumatology response compared to patients treated with placebo. In all

groups treated with HuMax-CD20, a greater proportion of patients benefited

from moderate or good European League Against Rheumatism responses

compared to placebo.

Rates of overall adverse events were comparable between the three groups

of patients receiving HuMax-CD20, Genmab said, but the firm added that

“these were primarily-infusion related and do not limit plans for continued development.” Serious infections were confined to one event of bronchopneumonia in the 300mg dose group.

With these data in hand, and the results of the full study expected during the first half of next year, the Danish firm added that it has started planning Phase III RA studies which will begin later in 2007.

Alliance details with Roche outlined

Meantime, Roche has named the disease areas for the antibody programmes being developed with Genmab, which include inflammation, oncology, respiratory and vascular diseases. The antibodies are primarily at the pre-clinical stage, though one is in Phase I, and the two firms are

colloborating with Genentech, where the Swiss firm owns a majority stake.

Interestingly the takeover rumours that have pushed Genmab’s shares up

recently tend to name Roche as the most likely buyer.