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Osteoarthritis drug may hurt bones

Associated Press / December 28, 2010

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NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration placed studies of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis’s potential osteoarthritis drug on hold because of potential harm to patients’ bones.

In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, Regeneron said the FDA had put studies of REGN475 on hold after a patient being treated with the same class of drug in another company’s study developed avascular necrosis of a joint.

Avascular necrosis, sometimes referred to as bone death, involves the cutting off of blood to the bone, which causes death of the bone tissue and the eventual collapse of the bone.

REGN475, also called SAR164877, is a nerve growth factor inhibitor, which aims to block pain.

The FDA is concerned the side effect could be an issue with all drugs in the same class.

The company said there are currently no ongoing studies of REGN475.

In July, at the FDA’s request, Pfizer Inc. stopped testing its potential nerve growth factor inhibitor, tanezumab. It was designed for patients with chronic low back pain, nerve damage from diabetes, and arthritis.