Eli Lilly and Co. announced that it will discontinue its Phase III rheumatoid arthritis program for tabalumab, an anti-BAFF (B cell activating factor) monoclonal antibody, because of lack of efficacy. The decision was not based on safety concerns. A Phase III program for tabalumab for systemic lupus erythematosus is ongoing and will continue as planned.
"While we are obviously disappointed by these results in rheumatoid arthritis, we continue to believe that tabalumab could have significant potential for patients in other disease areas," said Eiry Roberts, M.D., vice-president of autoimmune product development at Lilly in the company press release. "Autoimmune disorders are highly individualized. We believe that targeting BAFF with a molecule such as tabalumab may still represent an important advance for patients, and therefore we will continue the ongoing Phase III tabalumab lupus program."