(Reuters) – AstraZeneca’s experimental drug anifrolumab failed to meet its main target in a late-stage clinical study treating patients with moderate to severe lupus, the British drugmaker said on Friday.

AstraZeneca said the drug did not meet the main goal in the final-stage of one of the two clinical trials under the TULIP program, failing to show “statistically-significant” reduction in disease activity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly known as SLE.

“The result of this trial is disappointing for patients and the lupus community,” said Sean Bohen, AstraZeneca’s Chief Medical Officer.

AstraZeneca has been in a race with GlaxoSmithKline and French biotech company Neovacs to create new treatments for lupus, which affects about 5 million people globally.

Anifrolumab, which is given intravenously, is designed for patients with moderate to severe lupus and works in a different way to GlaxoSmithKline’s Benlysta by targeting interferon, a protein involved in inflammation.

(Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Patrick Graham)