Human Genome Sciences, GSK announce trial results for systemic lupus treatment

ROCKVILLE, Md. An investigational biotech drug for treating systemic lupus has done well in late-stage clinical trials so far, the two companies developing the drug announced Monday.

Human Genome Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline announced that the drug Benlysta (belimumab) met its primary efficacy goal in BLISS-52, the first of two phase 3 trials comparing it to standard methods of care and placebo in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE. The companies said Benlysta was the first lupus drug to reach this advanced a stage in clinical development.

“The BLISS-52 results demonstrate that Benlysta has the potential to become the first new approved drug in decades for people living with systemic lupus,” Human Genome Sciences president and CEO H. Thomas Watkins said in a statement. “Given the limited treatment options currently available, patients would benefit greatly from potential new treatments.”

The two companies entered an agreement to develop and commercialize Benlysta in August 2006.