A potential rheumatoid arthritis treatment from French drugmaker Sanofi and its U.S. development partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. fared better than a fake drug at improving disease signs and symptoms in a late-stage study.
The companies said Friday they saw a statistically significant improvement in patient groups that received their drug, sarilumab, combined with methotrexate compared to those who just received methotrexate and a placebo.
About 1,200 patients enrolled in the study. Researchers tested two doses of the drug in adults with active rheumatoid arthritis who were not helped by methotrexate.
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Aside from improving signs and symptoms, the treatment also helped physical function and inhibited joint damage progression, the companies said.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints and destroys soft tissue, cartilage and bone. It represents a major area of research for drug companies because it is chronic, meaning patients will likely take the drugs regularly for a long time.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment for the disease, Pfizer Inc.'s twice-a-day pill Xeljanz.
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