Lilly and Incyte Announce Patients Treated with Baricitinib Demonstrated Significant Improvement in Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis Compared with Methotrexate
"Left untreated or uncontrolled, RA can progress and significantly impact long-term health, career and quality of life," said
Roy Fleischmann, M.D., lead study author and clinical professor of medicine at the
In the RA-BEGIN trial, 584 patients who had limited or no prior treatment with methotrexate and who had never received other conventional or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) were randomized to methotrexate once weekly (n=210), baricitinib 4 mg once daily (n=159) or baricitinib daily in combination with methotrexate weekly (n=215) for up to 52 weeks. The weekly methotrexate dose was increased from 10 mg to 20 mg over 8 weeks.
Improvements compared to methotrexate were seen for baricitinib alone or in combination with methotrexate as early as week 1 for all components of the ACR response (swollen and tender joint counts, pain, patient and physician global assessment of disease activity and physical function). These improvements were maintained at weeks 24 and 52.
Baricitinib plus methotrexate also demonstrated significant inhibition of progressive radiographic joint damage versus methotrexate alone in RA-BEGIN, the third phase 3 study of baricitinib in RA to show this finding.
"Reaching clinical remission as soon as possible is important to help prevent irreversible joint damage that could lead to disability," said
Terence Rooney, M.D., medical director, rheumatoid arthritis, Lilly Bio-Medicines. "These positive results for baricitinib add to the growing body of evidence supporting this balanced JAK1 and JAK2 inhibitor as a potential new once-daily oral treatment option for people living with active RA."
The incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events and serious adverse events, including serious infections, was similar across treatment groups through week 52. No cases of tuberculosis or spontaneous gastrointestinal perforation were reported during the study. The most common adverse events observed were consistent with previous studies of baricitinib in RA. Compared to methotrexate, baricitinib monotherapy was associated with lower rates of liver abnormalities, lymphopenia and adverse events leading to interruption, while the combination of baricitinib plus methotrexate was associated with increases in non-serious infections and adverse events leading to permanent discontinuation.
"A significant medical need remains in the RA community as patients respond differently to different treatments," said
Rich Levy, M.D., chief drug development officer of Incyte. "We are very pleased with the results of the phase 3 RA-BEGIN study, which show superiority of baricitinib over methotrexate, a commonly used treatment for early RA, and demonstrate baricitinib's promise as a potential new treatment option that offers patients improved disease control."
Lilly and Incyte announced top-line results in December 2014 for the first phase 3 trial of baricitinib, RA-BEACON, in February 2015 for the second, RA-BUILD, in
Baricitinib is the only once-daily oral selective JAK1 and JAK2 inhibitor currently in late-stage clinical studies for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. There are four known JAK enzymes: JAK1, JAK2, JAK3 and TYK2. JAK-dependent cytokines have been implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, suggesting that JAK inhibitors may be useful for the treatment of a broad range of inflammatory conditions. Baricitinib demonstrates approximately 100-fold greater potency of inhibition against JAK1 and JAK2 than JAK 3 in kinase assays.
About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease[i] characterized by inflammation and progressive destruction of joints.[ii] More than 23 million people worldwide suffer from RA.[iii] Approximately three times as many women as men have the disease. Patients and physicians indicate there remains an important opportunity to improve patient care. Current treatment of RA includes the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, oral disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs such as methotrexate, and injectable biological response modifiers that target selected mediators implicated in the pathogenesis of RA.[iv]
About Baricitinib Phase 3 Trials
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and newsroom.lilly.com/social-channels.
This press release contains forward-looking statements (as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) about baricitinib as a potential treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and reflects Lilly and
i American College of Rheumatology, Rheumatoid Arthritis, http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/ra.asp (Accessed: October 20, 2015)
ii Hand Clinics, Advances in the Medical Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135413/pdf/nihms305780.pdf (Accessed: October 20, 2015)
iii WHO Global Burden of Disease Report, (table 7, page 32) 2004, http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GBD_report_2004update_full.pdf (Accessed October 20, 2015)
iv Arthritis Foundation, Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis, http://www.arthritistoday.org/about-arthritis/types-of-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis/treatment-plan/medication-overview/ra-medications.php (Accessed: October 20, 2015)