Telitacicept in patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus: results of a phase 2b, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Ann Rheum Dis. 2024 Mar 12;83(4):475-487. doi: 10.1136/ard-2023-224854.


Objectives: This phase 2b, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the efficacy and safety of telitacicept, a novel fusion protein that neutralises signals of B lymphocyte stimulator and a proliferation-inducing ligand, in active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: Adult patients with active SLE (n=249) were recruited from 29 hospitals in China and randomised 1:1:1:1 to receive subcutaneous telitacicept at 80 mg (n=62), 160 mg (n=63), 240 mg (n=62) or placebo (n=62) once weekly in addition to standard therapy. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients achieving an SLE Responder Index 4 (SRI-4) response at week 48. Missing data were imputed using the last observation carried forward method.

Results: At week 48, the proportion of patients achieving an SRI-4 response was 75.8% in the 240 mg telitacicept group, 68.3% in the 160 mg group, 71.0% in the 80 mg group and 33.9% in the placebo group (all p<0.001). Significant treatment responses were observed in secondary endpoints, including a ≥4-point reduction on the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index, a lack of Physician's Global Assessment score worsening and a glucocorticoid dose reduction in the 240 mg group. Telitacicept was well tolerated, and the incidence of adverse events and serious adverse events was similar between the telitacicept and placebo groups.

Conclusions: This phase 2b clinical trial met the primary endpoint. All telitacicept groups showed a significantly higher proportion of patients achieving an SRI-4 response than the placebo group at week 48, and all doses were well tolerated. These results support further investigations of telitacicept in clinical trials involving more diverse populations and larger sample sizes.

Trial registration number: Registry (NCT02885610).

Keywords: B-lymphocytes; autoimmune diseases; biological therapy; systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / drug therapy
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • telitacicept

Associated data