(Reuters)—Abbvie Inc. says its experimental drug met the main goal of halting progression of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a late-stage trial.
The drug, upadacitinib, was tested as a monotherapy in patients who have not been treated with chemotherapy agent methotrexate.
Upadacitinib, which belongs to a class of drugs known as JAK inhibitors, also helped improve symptoms of the disease such as swollen joint counts, the company says, adding it plans to submit a U.S. marketing application in the second half of 2018.
AbbVie, whose drug Humira is the market-leading treatment for RA, is among drugmakers developing JAK inhibitors, which work by blocking inflammation-causing enzymes known as Janus kinases.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved lower doses of another JAK inhibitor developer by Eli Lilly and Incyte Corp, but gave it a label that analysts said could restrict its potential for use in a larger population.