Eli Lilly and Company and Incyte Corporation announced positive topline results of RA-BEAM, the fourth successful Phase 3 study of baricitinib, an investigational medicine for patients with moderately-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis.
Companies say that the study met its primary objective of demonstrating superiority compared to placebo after 12 weeks of treatment based on ACR20 response – a standard clinical measure that represents at least a 20 percent improvement in RA disease activity. Baricitinib was also superior to adalimumab on key secondary objectives of ACR20 response and improvement in DAS28-hsCRP score after 12 weeks of treatment. Following 24 weeks of treatment, baricitinib was superior to placebo in preventing progressive radiographic structural joint damage. These treatment benefits with baricitinib observed at 12 and 24 weeks were maintained through 52 weeks of therapy.
“RA-BEAM is the first study to demonstrate that a once-daily oral treatment was superior in improving signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis compared to the current injectable standard of care,” said David Ricks, Lilly senior vice president, and president, Lilly Bio-Medicines.
“If approved, baricitinib could help change expectations for people living with this debilitating disease.”
“Combined results of these four Phase 3 studies give us confidence that, if approved, baricitinib could represent a valuable new treatment option for patients with RA,” said Rich Levy, M.D., chief drug development officer, Incyte Corporation.
Lilly explained that RA-BEAM evaluated the safety and efficacy of baricitinib in patients with active disease despite treatment with methotrexate, compared to placebo for 24 weeks or adalimumab (Humira)* for 52 weeks. Part of a larger Phase 3 program of more than 3,000 RA patients at various points in the RA treatment continuum, RA-BEAM enrolled more than 1,300 patients who were randomized to one of three treatment groups:
4 mg oral once-daily baricitinib on background methotrexate
40 mg injectable every-other-week adalimumab on background methotrexate
placebo on background methotrexate
Compared to placebo, serious adverse events rates were similar for baricitinib and lower for adalimumab; serious infection rates were similar across groups. There were no cases of gastrointestinal perforations. One event of tuberculosis was reported in each of the baricitinib and adalimumab groups. Rates of treatment-emergent adverse events, including infections, were higher for baricitinib and adalimumab compared to placebo. The most common adverse events observed with baricitinib were nasopharyngitis and bronchitis. Discontinuations due to adverse events occurred with similar frequency across treatment groups. A large majority of patients completing this trial opted to participate in a long-term extension study.
Lilly and Incyte announced top-line results in December 2014 for the first Phase 3 trial of baricitinib, RA-BEACON, and in February 2015 for the second, RA-BUILD. Data from these studies were presented at the EULAR annual scientific congress in June 2015. Topline results of the third Phase 3 trial, RA-BEGIN, were announced in September 2015 and will be presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual scientific congress in November. The companies plan to submit detailed data from RA-BEAM and other Phase 3 studies for presentation at scientific meetings and publication in peer-reviewed journals in 2015 and 2016.