Roche’s Inflammation Disease Area is focused on delivering medicines to treat a wide range of diseases including severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Inflammatory diseases affect millions of people around the globe, leading to pain, disability, disfigurement and, in some cases, death.
Roche is investigating the potential for MabThera to address a range of patient populations and inflammation-related diseases, including rheumatoid Arthritis in people who are resistant to existing therapies. Roche is also investigating Actemra, another first-in-class biologic for treatment of RA, which works by blocking interleukin-6, a protein that essentially “orchestrates” RA disease progression.
Another compound being studied is Ocrelizumab (R1594), an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that targets B cells and has demonstrated potential against other autoimmune diseases, such as systematic lupus erythemtosus (SLE) or relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
Scientists are using innovative research tools such as biomarkers that signal disease symptoms or progression, and help determine individuals’ response to a specific therapy.
With respiratory diseases, the opportunity lies not as much in tailoring medications as in identifying them in the first place. Four molecules are currently in clinical trials – two have potential to provide better treatment options for asthma, and another two could become the first new therapies for COPD in more than two decades.