Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) trial results: Mesoblast Limited (ASX: MSB) has presented the results from Phase-2 trial of its proprietary allogeneic Mesenchymal Precursor Cells (MPCs) in patients with biologic refractory rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology held in Madrid. The trial had met its primary endpoints, and the data indicated an early trend to improvements in patient-related outcome measures. Further, the results promise and support further development of Mesoblast’s mesenchymal precursor cells for biologic-refractory rheumatoid arthritis patients, a population with substantial medical need. Notably, major advances in the treatment of RA using biologic agents have resulted in a $19 billion global market in 2016, the majority of which is due to use of anti-TNF agents. The RA population resistant to anti-TNF agents, which constitutes about one-third of patients treated with anti-TNF agents, is the fastest growing branded market segment within the global RA biologics market, and is set to grow further as multiple anti-TNF biosimilars become available. There are approximately 6 million prevalent cases in the United States, Japan, and EU5, with 2.9 million in the United States alone in 2016.