Compounds targeting tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), specifically Immunex Corp.'s Enbrel and Centocor Inc.'s Avakine, are leading the pack as the potential new gold standard for rheumatoid arthritis treatment (see BioCentury, Nov. 10). Among products coming up behind Enbrel and Avakine are two peptide vaccines that could have utility by acting upstream and preventing the activation of the damaging T cells that lead to production of TNF and inflammation.

The Immune Response Corp. presented Phase II data with its IR501 T cell receptor (TCR) peptide vaccine, and Anergen Inc. last week presented Phase II data with its AnervaX HLA-DR4/1 haplotype-specific MHC class II peptide vaccine at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in Washington.