The type 2 helper T cell (T(H)2) cytokine interleukin (IL)-4 is thought to play a central role in the early stages of asthma. In an effort to develop an antibody treatment for asthma that neutralizes the effects of IL-4, a murine monoclonal antibody, 3B9, was generated with specificity for human IL-4. In vitro studies demonstrated that 3B9 inhibited IL-4-dependent events including IL-5 synthesis, (T(H)2) cell activation and up-regulation of immunoglobulin E expression. 3B9 was then humanized (pascolizumab, SB 240683) to reduce immunogenicity in humans. SB 240683 demonstrated species specificity for both monkey and human IL-4 with no reactivity to mouse, rat, cow, goat or horse IL-4. Pascolizumab inhibited the response of human and monkey T cells to monkey IL-4 and effectively neutralized IL-4 bioactivity when tested against several IL-4-responsive human cell lines. Affinity studies demonstrated rapid IL-4 binding by pascolizumab with a slow dissociation rate. In vivo pharmacokinetic and chronic safety testing in cynomolgus monkeys demonstrated that pascolizumab was well tolerated, and no adverse clinical responses occurred after up to 9 months of treatment. Three monkeys developed an anti-idiotypic response that resulted in rapid pascolizumab clearance. However, in the chronic dosing study the antibody response was transient and not associated with clinical events. In conclusion, pascolizumab is a humanized anti-IL-4 monoclonal antibody that can inhibit upstream and downstream events associated with asthma, including (T(H)2) cell activation and immunoglobulin E production. Clinical trials are under way to test the clinical efficacy of pascolizumab for asthma.