Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara helped a significantly higher percentage of Crohn’s disease sufferers than those who received a placebo, according to a study of patients who had not been helped by other commonly used drugs.
In addition, nearly 70 percent of patients who stayed on Stelara beyond the initial six weeks of the mid-stage study continued to respond to the drug and there was a significantly higher rate of remission at 22 weeks than in a placebo group.
Stelara, known chemically as ustekinumab, is already approved to treat the skin condition plaque psoriasis and is in late-stage testing for psoriatic arthritis. An approval for Crohn’s would give the drug entry into an estimated $1.3 billion U.S. market and $2.7 billion market worldwide.
The intravenous biotech drug met the primary goal of the study as almost 40 percent of patients who received the 6 milligrams per kilogram of weight dose of Stelara achieved a clinical response — defined as a 100-point reduction in the Crohn’s Disease Activity Index (CDAI) — after six weeks of treatment.