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UCB wins EU approval for arthritis drug

Belgian pharmaceutical group UCB said EU regulators approved its Cimzia drug as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

US regulators cleared Cimzia in May, sending UCB's stock sharply higher. The company had suffered a setback when the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) requested further safety data in January before approving the drug.

UCB is looking to Cimzia to replace sales of older products lost to generic rivals.

It belongs to a class of drugs that block an inflammatory protein known as a tumor necrosis factor, or TNF.

The first TNF blockers were launched 10 years ago and Cimzia is the fourth to reach the market as an arthritis treatment, behind Amgen's Enbrel, Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and Abbott Laboratories' Humira. (Reuters)