Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ocrelizumab – Zombie or Resurrected Drug?

I participated on a workshop concerning B-cell depletion and rheumatoid factor about 2 years ago. I had found out about problems with ocrelizumab prior to the meeting, in fact Roche stopped research on ocrelizumab (but only for the indication rheumatoid arthritis). I was quite surprised that none of the other specialists knew about this breaking news in rheumatology.
Afterwards I had been looking carefully into the publication of results in research of ocrelizumab.
This is what I’ve written post ACR meeting 2011:
And this is what I’ve written after this year’s EULAR meeting in Berlin:
So, summing up I thought that ocrelizumab had been buried.

And now I see the following article on ocrelizumab:

Stohl, W. and colleagues: Safety and efficacy of ocrelizumab in combination with methotrexate in MTX-naive subjects with rheumatoid arthritis: the phase III FILM trial.
Conclusions: OCR 200 mg and 500 mg with MTX in MTX-naive patients with RA were effective in inhibiting joint damage progression and improving RA signs and symptoms. OCR 500 mg with MTX was associated with an increased rate of serious infections.   

This article means that ocrelizumab is trying to be rituximab’s successor. But is it a resurrection? Or will we see the coming of a zombie? It’s hard to decide right away. We have to look, if ocrelizumab at 200 mg is equal to rituximab, both in efficacy and adverse events.
I think we're going to have another interesting topic to discuss at the ACR 2012 meeting in Washington.

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