Anthera Pharmaceuticals: Final Data From Pearl-SC Phase II Study Bodes Well For Proposed Phase III Program, HGSI Take-Out Demonstrates Value for Lupus Treatments

After reporting positive preliminary results for its lupus candidate, blisibimod, at the end of June, including a statistically significant improvement at week 20 vs. placebo (p=0.02), Anthera (NASDAQ:ANTH) today released additional data from the PEARL-SC study. The Phase II data released today correspond to blisibimod’s efficacy and safety in the proposed population for Phase III trials. PEARL-SC final data for the 200mg weekly dose of blisibimod suggest sustained and greater treatment effects vs. placebo. In patients with severe disease who were also taking corticosteroids, the treatment benefit in the 200mg/week blisibimod cohort was seen as early as week eight and achieved statistical significance starting at week 16 (35.4% blisibimod response vs. 17.0% placebo, p=0.04) through week 24 (41.7% blisibimod response vs. 10.4% placebo response, p<0.001). Additional results regarding time to first severe flare, total flares, proteinuria, and patients achieving a reduction of steroid dose were also positive. Full data from the PEARL-SC study will be presented at an upcoming scientific conference. Expect ANTH to continue to trade higher, particularly on the heels of the Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ:HGSI) take-out by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), which is primarily driven by HGSI’s treatment for lupus (Benlysta).