Roche’s new Ocrelizumab, hailed as new hope for multiple sclerosis has successfully decreased relapse rates in three clinical trials.
Two clinical trials have sought to pinpoint the effects of Ocrelizumab on multiple sclerosis patients, while a third clinical trial targeted specifically patients suffering from primary progressive multiple sclerosis. For this form of the debilitating disease, no treatment is currently approved.
The preliminary results of the third trial show that clinical disability was decreased by approximately one quarter. The other two clinical trials involving treatment of multiple sclerosis patients with Roche’s new Ocrelizumab also yielded encouraging results.
One of the trials cut the annual rate of relapse by 46 percent. The second also saw a drop of the relapse rate by 47 percent.
In calling Roche’s new Ocrelizumab the new hope for multiple sclerosis patients, both the medical community and analysts are comparing the new drug with alternatives already approved and existent on the market.
In comparison with Merck’s Rebif and according to the preliminary results of the Roche studies, Ocrelizumab fares well above the standard. Other drugs and available treatments used in treating multiple sclerosis and particularly the relapsing form of the disease are Sanofi’s Lemtrada and Biogen’s Tysabri, as well as Biogen’s Tecfidera and Novarti’s Gilenya.
However, serious concerns have been raised as per the side effects present with the majority of multiple sclerosis patients. According to chief of neurology Stephen Hauser with the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and lead researcher on two of the Roche studies, Ocrelizumab proved as safe as standard care interferons.
While the efficiency of Roche’s new Ocrelizumab will be proven in time provided the drug receives approval from U.S. and European regulatory agencies, the company is convinced that the powerful results yielded by the clinical trials are a certain plus.
Roche hasn’t fully disclosed the results of the studies. These were discussed during the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, taking place on Friday and Saturday in Barcelona, Spain.
More news will follow. However, the Swiss company is set on meeting with the FDA and European regulatory agencies to seek approval for Ocrelizumab in the first quarter of 2016.
Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease that affects over 250,000 U.S. citizens. Worldwide, over 2.3 million people suffer from the disease. Roche’s new Ocrelizumab could be the miracle treatment for multiple sclerosis patients.
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