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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Biogen Idec and Abbott Laboratories' experimental once-monthly injected drug for multiple sclerosis achieved the main goals in a mid-stage trial


Biogen, Abbott MS trials hit goals

Tuesday, August 09 15:58:43
Biogen Idec and Abbott Laboratories' experimental once-monthly injected drug for multiple sclerosis achieved the main goals in a mid-stage trial, the companies said today.
Analysts said the drug, daclizumab, showed effectiveness on a par with some of the new medicines for the often disabling neurological disease, but that some of the side effects, such as infections, were worrisome.
A wave of new drugs, including several oral treatments, has brought some optimism for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, which has no cure, while generating fierce competition in the pharmaceutical industry.
Daclizumab was injected once every four weeks in the Phase IIb study of 600 patients.
According to initial results, daclizumab significantly reduced annualized relapse rates by 54 percent for patients on the 150 milligram dose and 50 percent for those on the 300 mg dose compared with those taking a placebo.
That performance puts daclizumab's effectiveness in line with Novartis AG's newly approved Gilenya and Biogen's experimental drug BG-12, both of which are pills, but below the roughly 67 percent relapse rate for Tysabri, sold by Biogen and Elan Corp, analysts said.
Serious infections occurred in 2 percent of patients on daclizumab compared to none taking the placebo, while more patients in the treatment group had high liver function abnormality tests -- 4 percent versus less than 1 percent in the placebo group. Two deaths occurred with patients in treatment arms of the study. (C ) Reuters


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