Biogen Idec announces phase II Rituxan data
2 May 2007 00:00 in Pharmaceutical Company Product News
At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston, Biogen Idec and Genentech have announced positive data from a phase II clinical study of Rituxan (rituximab) in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
The results of the trial showed that, compared to patients receiving placebo, the number of gadolinium lesions at 24 weeks was 91 per cent lower in those administered with Rituxan.
Furthermore, the Rituxan trial saw the percentage of patients experiencing relapse over the 24 weeks drop from 34.3 per cent in placebo-treated patients down to 14.5 per cent.
Rituxan is a therapeutic antibody that operates by targeting and selectively depleting CD20-positive B-cells and is currently being investigated as a treatment for primary progressive MS, in addition to other autoimmune conditions for which there is currently unmet medical need.
Stephen Hauser, professor and chair of the department of neurology at the University of California, said: "There remains a great need for safe and effective treatments for patients with RRMS.
"These phase II results are very encouraging and suggest B-cells play a key role in MS."
He added that the trial results also suggested that a possibly avenue to treat MS could be found through the selective targeting of B-cells.
Last month, Biogen Idec reported the results of an assessment of its MS treatment Avonex (interferon beta-la) showing that the compound is cost effective compared to other interferon beta therapies.
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Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency