Lilly stops rheumatoid arthritis treatment study

Eli Lilly stops study of possible rheumatoid arthritis treatment due to lack of effectiveness

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Drug developer Eli Lilly and Co. is stopping clinical testing of an experimental rheumatoid arthritis treatment because it wasn't working.

The Indianapolis company said Thursday it will continue studying the potential drug, tabalumab, as a possible treatment for a form of the autoimmune disorder lupus and the bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma.

Lilly said in December it stopped a late-stage study of tabalumab due to a lack of effectiveness. The company announced Thursday that it decided to end additional mid- and late-stage research after further analyzing data. It said the decision was not based on safety concerns.

Late-stage studies are generally the last and most expensive phase of testing a drug undergoes before the developer asks regulators to approve it.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a major area of research for drug companies because it is a chronic condition, meaning patients will likely take the drugs regularly for a long time. In November, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment for the disease, Pfizer Inc.'s twice-a-day pill Xeljanz.

Lilly shares fell 46 cents to $53.47 in morning trading.

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