FDA approves Genentech arthritis drug for rare disorder in children

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Genentech for a rare form of arthritis in children, the company said Tuesday.

Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss drug maker Roche, announced the approval of Actemra (tocilizumab) for polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children ages 2 years and older, either alone or combined with the generic drug methotrexate.

"Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a rare, debilitating condition in children that worsens over time," Genentech chief medical officer and head of global product development Hal Barron said. "We are pleased to offer Actemra to doctors and patients ages 2 years and older as an important medicine to help improve signs and symptoms of this often painful disease."