Peresolimab Shows Efficacy in Patients With RA

TOPLINE: Stimulation of the PD-1 pathway with the investigational drug peresolimab shows efficacy in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


  • Peresolimab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that stimulates human programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1).

  • Researchers enrolled 98 adults with treatment-resistant, moderate-to-severe RA in the phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

  • Patients were randomly assigned to receive 700 mg of peresolimab, 300 mg of peresolimab, or placebo intravenously once every 4 weeks.

  • The primary outcome was the change in the Disease Activity Score in 28 Joints based on the C-reactive protein level (DAS28-CRP) from baseline to 12 weeks.


  • Only patients taking 700 mg of peresolimab had a significantly greater change in DAS28-CRP, compared with the placebo group after 12 weeks.

  • The 700-mg group had a greater percentage of ACR20 responses, but not ACR50 or ACR70 responses, compared with placebo.

  • The safety profiles were similar across the peresolimab and placebo groups.

  • Peresolimab should be evaluated for its effect on cancer risk because the monoclonal antibody does the opposite of anticancer therapies blocking PD-1 activity.


  • This study is too preliminary to have practice application.


  • Jay Tuttle, PhD, of Eli Lilly and Company (San Diego, California) led the research. The study was published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.


  • The trial’s small sample size and short timeframe could limit the interpretation of the results.


  • Eli Lilly funded the research. Researchers disclosed financial relationships with AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novartis, Pfizer, and several other pharmaceutical companies.

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