Teva to launch Laquinimod lupus clinical trial

The firm's new Multiple Sclerosis drug may be able to treat other illnesses as well.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq:TEVA; TASE:TEVA) is investigating whether its drug Laquinimod, which is in Phase III clinical trial for treating Multiple Sclerosis, is also suitable for treating lupus.

In the next few weeks Teva will begin recruiting patients for a Phase IIa clinical trial for Laquinimod for treating lupus nephritis, which affects the kidneys, and lupus arthritis, which affects joints. The trial is slated to begin in the summer.

Teva has previously tried to develop a treatment for lupus, an autoimmune disease in which antibodies in tissues like the joints and kidneys become inflamed, through a peptide called Edratide. But a phase II clinical trial failed in 2007.

Teva is developing Laquinimod with Swedish company Active Biotech. The drug is being investigated for fast track approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and could be approved for marketing by 2012. The approval will only be for Multiple Sclerosis but there are indications that Laquinimod is effective for treating other autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as Lupus.

In contrast to Copaxone, Teva's branded drug for treating Multiple Sclerosis, which had sales of $2.8 billion in 2009 and is administered by injection, Laquinimod is taken orally.

Teva's share fell 1.3% to $60.19 on the opening on Nasdaq today, giving a market cap of $53.28 billion.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 16, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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