GlaxoSmithKline has begun enrolling patients in a mid-stage trial assessing the safety and efficacy of an experimental therapy for hand osteoarthritis licensed from MorphoSys.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease caused by breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone, resulting in pain and stiffness.

According to Arthritis Research UK, 1.56 million people in the UK have sought treatment about osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist, while one in six people who sought treatment for osteoarthritis have it in their hand or wrist.

GSK3196165 is a monoclonal antibody against GM-CSF (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor) cytokine, a target molecule for a broad range of inflammatory diseases.

The European multi-center Phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled study will investigate the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous injections of the drug in 40 adult subjects with inflammatory hand osteoarthritis. 

GSK picked up a license to the antibody from MorphoSys back in 2013, for an upfront fee of 22.5 million euros plus developmental, regulatory and commercial milestones of up to 423 million euros, as well as double-digit royalties on net sales.

The drugs giant is also currently testing GSK3196165 in a Phase IIb study in rheumatoid arthritis. 

New facility in Ware

Meanwhile, GSK said it has now opened a £56-million state-of-the-arty facility in Ware, UK. 

The move, which has created 150 new jobs in the region, is in response to growing demand for the firm’s portfolio of respiratory medicines delivered through its Ellipta inhaler. 

It is anticipated that the new facility will nearly double production of Ellipta inhalers at Ware to at least 37 million per year by 2017, 95% of which are to be exported.