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Regeneron Nips At Amgen And Pfizer's Heels In Pain Drug Race

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) might have joined Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and AstraZeneca ((NYSE:AZN) in giving up hope on the anti-nerve growth factor class, but not everybody has. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) now has the support it needs for its massive pivotal trial of fasinumab, with positive phase II/III data on treating arthritis-related pain.

The safety issues that have dogged these antibodies still exist, as patients treated with the Regeneron project experienced nerve and musculoskeletal side effects. Yet with pressure on the FDA to take steps to reduce the misuse of pain-killing opioids, it seems like the agency should be keen to let the phase III trial proceed with a careful eye on safety.

Low doses good

Patients taking fasinumab reported significant improvements in arthritis-specific pain scores across four doses at 16 weeks compared with patients taking a placebo. The difference from baseline scores ranged from 3.35 points on the WOMAC scale at the lowest 1mg dose to 3.65 at the 9mg highest dose.

Given the long-term safety concerns on these anti-nerve growth factor ((NGF)) agents, these data...