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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Sanofi ends research of arthritis drug as COVID-19 treatment

Health Industry Hub | September 14, 2020 |

Pharma News: Sanofi’s global Phase III trial investigating intravenously administered Kevzara (sarilumab) in severely or critically ill patients hospitalised with COVID-19 did not meet its primary endpoint and key secondary endpoint when compared to placebo added to usual hospital care.

Kevzara is indicated for use in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders by blocking a protein called IL-6.

The COVID-19 420-patient randomised trial was conducted in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Russia and Spain.

“Although this trial did not yield the results we hoped for, we are proud of the work that was achieved by the team to further our understanding of the potential use of Kevzara for the treatment of COVID-19,” said John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head of Research and Development, Sanofi. 

Although not statistically significant, numerical trends were observed toward a decrease in duration of hospital stay as well as an acceleration in time to improve clinical outcomes.

Roche, despite the failure of the COVACTA trial in July, has continued to study Actemra in combination with Gilead’s Veklury in the trial REMDACTA to assess whether the combination can improve patient outcomes after four weeks compared to Veklury alone.

Detailed results of the Sanofi study will be submitted to a peer-reviewed publication later this year.  At this time, Sanofi and Regeneron do not anticipate conducting further clinical studies for Kevzara in COVID-19.


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