John Ioannou, MD, PhD, Discusses axSpA Treatment Data Presented at ACR20

By Kaitlyn D’Onofrio - Last Updated: December 3, 2020

Several studies discussed during the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2020 Convergence talked about axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) and some of its treatments. John Ioannou, MD, PhD, Head of Medical Affairs Rheumatology at UCB, discussed research on CIMZIA and bimekizumab presented during the meeting.

DocWire News: What prompted you to undertake these studies?

Dr. Ioannou: At UCB, we are deeply committed to addressing the unmet needs of patients living with rheumatic diseases. We are constantly working to build upon our wealth of rheumatology research and data to help support these specific patient populations, especially patients living with axSpA. The data presented at ACR this year shows the unique, differentiated value that CIMZIA and bimekizumab can provide to these patients.

DocWire News: What are the key takeaways from the CIMZIA data?

Dr. Ioannou: The C-VIEW study1 results show that CIMIZA provides reductions in acute anterior uveitis (AAU) flares in patients with axSpA, and the C-axSpAnd study2 shows clinically relevant responses in non-radiographic axSpA (nr-axSpA) patients with either MRI and/or CRP positivity at study baseline. Also, no new safety signals were identified, consistent with previous reports.

DocWire News: What are the key takeaways from the bimekizumab data?

Dr. Ioannou: The data from the Phase 2b BE ACTIVE study3 and BE ACTIVE OLE4 and BE AGILE open-label5 studies being presented at ACR Convergence 2020 show not only consistently durable clinical responses and joint and skin outcomes, but also improvements in quality of life.

Our bimekizumab data further support the value of selective inhibition of IL-17F in addition to IL-17A in ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, showing that bimekizumab has the potential to provide consistently durable clinical responses and thus positively impacting overall quality of life.

DocWire News: Did any of the study findings surprise you?

Dr. Ioannou: Our C-VIEW open-label study investigated the impact of CIMZIA treatment on AAU flares in patients with axSpA and a recent history of AAU over a two-year period. We were very pleased that findings revealed an impressive 82 percent reduction in the incidence of AAU flares compared to pre-baseline at week 96 of treatment, in addition to 75.6 percent of patients achieving ASAS20 and 58.5 percent achieving ASAS40 responses.

DocWire News: What limitations did the study6 have?

Dr. Ioannou: In the RAPID‐axSpA and C‐axSpAnd clinical study reports, results informed the clinical efficacy of CIMZIA in patients with axSpA. A following network meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of CIMZIA and various biologic disease‐modifying anti‐rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) in bDMARD-naïve adult patients with nr-axSpA demonstrated either numerically or significantly greater treatment advantage of ASAS40 in CIMZIA compared with other bDMARDS, however, exploration of the statistical heterogeneity among bDMARDs was limited by the fact that only one study per treatment was identified for all treatments but CIMZIA.

DocWire News: Do you have any future research plans pertaining to this area?

Dr. Ioannou: Bimekizumab’s safety and efficacy are being evaluated in Phase 3 trials for potential indications, which in Rheumatology include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and nr-axSpA.The breadth of research to-date provides evidence that bimekizumab has the potential to offer a meaningful new treatment option for people living with these rheumatic conditions, and we look forward to continuing to share these encouraging results at future rheumatology meetings.

DocWire News: Any information not addressed by the previous questions that you would like to share?

Dr. Ioannou: UCB’s clinical studies have contributed to a better understanding of axSpA, including that radiographic axSpA and nr-axSpA are part of the same disease entity.

There is still great opportunity to innovate and improve care for patients with axSpA, starting with earlier and more accurate diagnoses. Through our research and patient support, we have laid a solid foundation to achieve our future vision for meeting patient needs in axSpA.


  1. van der Horst-Bruinsma I, van Bentum RE, Verbraak FD, et al. Reduction of anterior uveitis flares in patients with axial spondyloarthritis during certolizumab pegol treatment: 96-week results from the c-view study.
  2. Deodhar A, LS Gensler, Hall S, et al. Certolizumab pegol efficacy in patients with nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis stratified by baseline mri and creactive protein status.
  3. Gossec L, Mease PJ, Gottlieb AB, et al. Bimekizumab improves patient-reported outcomes in psoriatic 2 arthritis: 48-week results from a phase 2b study and association 3 between patient-reported outcomes and disease activity.
  4. Baraliakos X, Deodhar A, Dougados M, et al. Bimekizumab long-term efficacy and safety over 96 weeks in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: interim results from a phase 2b open-label extension study.
  5. Merola JF, Behrens F, Kivitz AJ, et al. Bimekizumab maintenance of response in patients with psoriatic arthritis: 2 year results from a phase 2b dose ranging study and its open label extension.
  6. S Kiri, M Kim, M Betts, M Chitnis, K Fahrbach, J Tarpey, M Turner. Network Meta-Analysis of Long-Term Efficacy (ASAS40) of Biologic Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (bDMARDs) in bDMARD-Naïve Patients with Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis
Post Tags:autoimmune diseaseAxial Spondyloarthritis
Latest News

November 30, 2023