WASHINGTON (AP) – The Food and Drug Administration has approved a potential blockbuster drug from Johnson & Johnson that fights three forms of arthritis caused by immune-system deficiencies.

The injectable medication is called Simponi. It is essentially a follow-up to the multibillion-dollar medication Remicade, which is marketed in the U.S. by J&J and in Europe by Schering-Plough Corp. Marketing rights for the new drug would be similarly split between the two companies.

All three forms of arthritis are chronic disorders in which the immune system attacks joints, causing stiffness, pain and restricted motion.

Other similar drugs include Amgen’s Enbrel and Abbott Laboratories’ Humira.


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