Actemra (tocilizumab)

Actemra is approved in 116 countries for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is also approved for the treatment of paediatric juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA), systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA), giant cell arteritis (GCA) and CAR-T cell-induced cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Actemra is available in both subcutaneous (SC) and intravenous (IV) formulations.

Actemra is a first-in-class anti-IL-6 receptor (aIL-6R) therapy. IL-6 is believed to play a key role in activating the inflammatory pathway that contributes to the signs and symptoms of RA and other inflammatory autoimmune conditions. Actemra binds to IL-6 receptors, blocking the pro-inflammatory effect of IL-6 cytokines.

Actemra is approved for defined patients hospitalised with severe or critical COVID-19 in multiple territories including the European Union, Ecuador, Honduras, Japan, Myanmar, Peru, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, provisionally approved in Australia, and authorised for emergency use in Ghana and the United States. It has also been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Multiple studies have evaluated the efficacy and safety of Actemra, including the Roche-led COVACTA, EMPACTA and REMDACTA trials, and the University of Oxford-led RECOVERY study. WHO has also reported that IL-6 receptor blockers, such as Actemra, are expected to still be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Omicron (B.1.1.529).