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J&J, Schering-Plough Halt Drug Trial

Johnson & Johnson has suspended enrollment in a late-stage trial of an experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug it is co-developing with Schering-Plough because of short-term logistics problems.

The drug, called golimumab, would be sold in the United States by Johnson & Johnson and overseas by Schering-Plough. It is part of the same partnership under which the companies sell Remicade, one of the world's top-selling treatments for the potentially crippling form of arthritis.

"It's temporarily suspended because we had a glitch in the distribution of the product to some of the investigation sights," said Michael Parks, a spokesman for J&J's Centocor unit.

The company expects the issue to be resolved by mid-January.

"This will not impact any of the regulatory timelines," he said.

A spokesperson for Schering-Plough deferred queries to Johnson & Johnson.

Prudential analyst Tim Anderson said the suspension relates to Phase III trials that are evaluating injections of golimumab.

"As worrisome as this may initially appear, we understand it is ... not related to manufacturing of the underlying drug," Anderson said in a research note.

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