Alder Rival Wins FDA Approval
[Correction: 1/11/10, 9:15 am Pacific, with distinction between IL-6 and IL-6 receptor.] Genentech, the U.S.-based unit of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, said the FDA has granted clearance to start selling a new drug for rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment, tocilizumab (Actemra), is the first approved antibody engineered to block the receptor for an inflammatory protein called IL-6, that is overactive in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Bothell, WA-based Alder Biopharmaceuticals is attempting to block the IL-6 protein with a “fast-follower” antibody called ALD518, which is being co-developed with Bristol-Myers Squibb.