Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc.
) recently initiated the CHABLIS-SC1 phase III study on
blisibimod. Blisibimod is being developed for treating patients
suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic
autoimmune disease that can result in severe skin rash, fatigue,
joint pain and major organ complications.
Anthera Pharma will enrol around 400 patients for the study
from Latin America, Asia Pacific and Commonwealth of Independent
States. The patients will be randomized to receive blisibimod or
placebo for a period of 52 weeks. Subsequently they will have the
option to be treated with blisibimod in an open-label, long-term,
follow-up safety study.
We note that Anthera Pharma moved blisibimod into phase III
studies following the encouraging results of the candidate in a
phase II study (PEARL-SC) and its discussions with the FDA last
year. The PEARL-SC study evaluated the efficacy and safety of
subcutaneous blisibimod in patients suffering from active and
We note that
) Benlysta is already approved for the treatment of SLE.
Further, Anthera Pharma is also developing blisibimod for an
orphan indication. The company plans to initiate a phase IIb
study on blisibimod in patients suffering from B-cell mediated
autoimmune diseases such as IgA nephropathy (Berger's disease)
later this year.
Anthera Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company, currently carries
a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However other biopharma stocks such as
Array BioPharma Inc.
) currently look better positioned. While Cytokinetics carries a
Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Array carries a Zacks Rank #2
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