Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011
News from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Active Biotech announced in a press release that the phase III BRAVO study, in which the experimental oral drug laquinimod was tested against inactive placebo in a study involving over 1300 people with relapsing-remitting MS, did not reach its primary goal of reducing the average number of relapses in a year. However, when the investigators adjusted the data to correct for differences in magnetic resonance imaging characteristics at the start of the study, a significant reduction in average annual relapse rate was observed in the group receiving the laquinimod. Further analysis is ongoing, and the results are being submitted for presentation at a scientific meeting later this year. The companies state that they plan to submit applications to regulatory authorities for the treatment of MS in the United States and European Union.
Background: Multiple sclerosis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks nerve fiber-insulating myelin and other brain and spinal cord tissues. Laquinimod is a monoclonal antibody believed to affect the immune attack. In an earlier phase II study involving 306 people with relapsing-remitting MS, oral laquinimod reduced disease activity by 40.4% compared with inactive placebo. (Lancet 2008; 371: 2085–92) In one phase III study – the ALLEGRO study – laquinimod reduced the annual relapse rate in those completing the trial by 23%, compared to those on placebo. (Late-Breaking News – American Academy of Neurology, 2011)