Flexion Therapeutics Inc. has been trying to develop a drug for the treatment of osteoarthritis for a while now. After failing the first test a few months ago, causing their shares to drop sharply, the company is back, confident that this time they will get FDA approval. As they made the announcement, the company’s shares jumped 38%, proving that investors are willing to take a bite out of Zilretta – Flexion Therapeutics’ osteoarthritis medicine.
Nearing FDA approval in the United States, Flexion reported that the third phase of their clinical trials for the Zilretta drug met its goals and reported highly positive results. The company says that the medicine has the potential to become a very important non-opioid treatment for an area of medicine that hasn’t seen innovation in years.
After the company reported a failed trial a few months ago, failing to show significant pain relief in the test group of 200 patients, the stocks plummeted sharply last fall, leaving many to believe that this would be the end for Flexion.
As they released the most recent, successful report, their shares climbed back up 38%, as the drug is expected to quickly raise over half a billion dollars in US alone at the peak of its popularity. This will most likely happen starting with the second half of 2017, if the FDA is to actually approve the drug this time.
In order to make sure that their results are very noticeable, Flexion Therapeutics involved 486 patients in the trials. Over the four month duration of the test, the participants would report their weekly pain levels once per week.
The patients were divided into three groups, each receiving one of three types of pills – Zilretta, a placebo, and commonly used instant-release steroid triamcinolone acetonide. After the test, the participants on Zilretta reported 50% less pain than the group taking the placebo.
This is incredibly good news for osteoarthritis patients, as their condition is extremely painful and doesn’t really get any significant relief from what is currently on the market. Zilretta seems to have blown all other therapies for the disease out of the water.
As many as 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, a form of degenerative arthritis that results from the cartilages breaking down and slowly disappearing. It is associated with reduced mobility of the joint, swelling, and huge amounts of pain. Most therapies used today offer very limited effectiveness, and they also pose some serious side effects.
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