The Celltech Group plc reported last week that itsantibody to tumor necrosis factor resulted in nearlycomplete remissions in nine of 21 patients with Crohn'sdisease who had not responded to standard therapy.

At the same time, only one of 10 placebo patients in the31-patient trial of CDP 571 had similar remission. Theresults were assessed two weeks after injection of a singledose of the genetically engineered human antibody.Celltech, of Slough, England, now passes development ofCDP 571 in this indication over to corporate partnerBayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany.

"We have proof of principle firmly established ininflammatory bowel disease," said Peter Allen, Celltech'sfinance director, whose company also had positive resultsin a small Phase II ulcerative colitis study. He saidCelltech expects Bayer's next move would be largerPhase II dose-ranging studies.

The anti-TNF antibody also has shown good results inPhase II studies of rheumatoid arthritis, and Bayer alreadyis in Phase II studies in the U.S. in that indication.

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease thatinvolves scarring and thickening of the bowel wall, oftenleading to blockage and abscess formation. Allen said theresponses from the nine treated patents were within 1percent of being complete remissions.

The company also said there was a statistically significantimprovement in an activity index score for Crohn'sdisease, and the drug was well tolerated and produced noadverse events. _ Jim Shrine

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