Gilead Sciences Inc. and partner Galapagos NV said only a higher dose of their experimental drug filgotinib showed greater effectiveness than placebo in a pivotal study testing it in ulcerative colitis patients.

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The return on R&D investment for leading biopharmaceutical manufacturers fell to a nine-year low while the U.S. FDA approved a record-breaking amount of novel medicines during 2018.

Johnson & Johnson said the company’s blockbuster drug Stelara was found to be effective in treating a chronic bowel disease in a late-stage trial.

Europe approved a fifth copy of AbbVie’s $18-billion-a-year biologic Humira – the world’s best-selling prescription medicine – ramping up competition among makers of less-expensive biotech drugs.

AbbVie faces a crunch moment in Europe in mid-October 2018 when less-expensive copies of the U.S. drugmaker’s $18-billion-a-year biologic drug Humira – the world’s best-selling prescription medicine – hit the market.

Novartis’ Sandoz division received approval from the European Commission for its biosimilar Zessly (infliximab) in gastroenterological, rheumatological and dermatological diseases.

Britain’s AstraZeneca said it had licensed a potential medicine for inflammatory diseases to Allergan for an upfront payment of $250 million and potential additional payments of up to $1.27 billion.