Roche and Biogen Idec will discontinue the ocrelizumab clinical development programme for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The companies concluded that the drug candidate did not provide overall benefit following safety and efficacy analysis.

The clinical programme included four Phase III studies.

The drug is being evaluated for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in a Phase II study.

An estimated 20 million people worldwide suffer from RA, an autoimmune disease characterised by inflammation leading to stiff, swollen and painful joints.