Going for it: GSK’s Hal Barron outlines a big PhIII program for rheumatoid arthritis — going head-to-head with giant rivals
Eight months after failing a Phase II test for rheumatoid arthritis, GSK R&D chief Hal Barron is taking his chances and adding one of his favorite experimental therapies to the pharma giant’s late-stage pipeline with an ambitious Phase III program designed to either prove it’s a commercial contender — or not.
Initially coded as GSK3196165 and now dubbed otilimab, the antibody inhibits granulocyte-macrophage-colony-stimulating factor. GSK in-licensed the drug from Germany’s MorphoSys, which is getting a $22 million milestone payment with today’s announcement. And Barron has designed a “unique” trio of late-stage studies that will pit the new drug against two current therapies on the market: Pfizer’s JAK inhibitor Xeljanz — already black boxed with new safety warnings that have attracted the attention of regulators — as well as Kevzara, the IL-6 drug approved 2 years ago and fielded by the Sanofi/Regeneron team.
This is a big field, with plenty of new contenders.
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