Celltech Group plc said Wednesday that its Phase II study of CDP571 in 36 rheumatoid arthritis patients has been completed.The Slough, England, company won't be releasing results of thedouble-blind trial until the American College of RheumatologyNational Scientific Meeting in Minneapolis on Oct. 25. But the factthat Celltech is speaking at the meeting, and that plans are under wayfor an expanded Phase II study, indicate the results were positive."We are very encouraged," Peter Fellner, Celltech's CEO, toldBioWorld, adding that the company and development partner BayerAG are discussing the form for the larger Phase II study, which isexpected to be conducted in Europe and the U.S.The companies also are developing CDP 571, a human antibody totumor necrosis factor (TNF), for other indications. The product isexpected to complete a Phase II study in inflammatory bowel diseasein mid-1995, an early Phase II study in Type II diabetes by the end ofthe year, and a Phase II study in septic shock already is completed.Fellner said Celltech's milestone payments from the Bayercollaboration will total $16.5 million at the end of the month, with along-term potential of more than $40 million.Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., also will be releasing results of itsPhase II trial for rheumatoid arthritis, involving its CenTNF product,at the meeting in Minneapolis. Those results also are expected to beencouraging. _ Jim Shrine
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