A new study published online by The Lancet on July 15, 2008, said that most patients taking a combination of Enbrel and methotrexate had no progression of joint damage halfway into a two-year study. The study included 542 patients with rheumatoid arthritis in Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. In the COMET (COmbination of Methotrexate and ETanercept in Active Early Rheumatoid Arthritis) study, infections and malignancies showed no difference between the trial group, who took etanercept (Enbrel) plus methotrexate, versus the group taking only methotrexate.
Amgen and Wyeth both have their hands in the pot on this one, as Amgen markets Enbrel in North America and Wyeth sells it everywhere else. Enbrel brought in $3.2 billion in 2007. This is good news for Amgen and Wyeth and follows an FDA warning last month about whether Enbrel, as well as other tumor necrosis factor inhibitors like J&J's Remicade, increase the risk of cancer in children.