Researchers at Hokkaido University in Japan, in a collaboration with American scientists, may have identified neural crosstalk as the mechanism that drives widespread inflammation in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriasis and atherosclerosis.

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.