Human Genome shares leap 40 percent as lupus drug passes another key goal

Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) say their experimental lupus drug passed another key treatment goal and they plan on asking for regulatory approval in the first half of 2010.

Wall Street and researchers anticipated study data from Bliss-76, hoping it would confirm positive results from a prior late-stage study. Benlysta is aimed at suppressing the immune system's response to lupus, which is an inflammatory disease prompting the body to attack its own tissue and organs.

The anticipated Bliss-76 study data showed a 10-milligram dose of Benlysta, plus therapy with steroids, prompted an improvement in 43 percent of patients, compared with an improvement in only 33 percent of patients on the placebo end of the study.

In premarket trading, Human Genome shares soared 39 percent to $26.03.

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