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Roche halts clinical trial

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has suspended clinical trials of a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis following safety concerns.

The joint project with United States biotech group Biogen Idec was developing the Ocrelizumab treatment for the condition.

A review by the Ocrelizumab Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) found the safety risk outweighed benefits observed in the test populations. The review detected an indicator for serious infections, some of which were fatal.

“Patient safety is of the utmost importance in all of our drug development programmes,” said Hal Barron, chief medical officer at Roche, in announcing the trials were suspended.

A detailed analysis of all the data would be conducted and the future of the Ocrelizumab rheumatoid arthritis clinical programme was under evaluation, added Roche. The programme is being implemented in more than 30 countries.

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