Ofatamumab & firategrast — Promising compounds for the treatment of MS:
Few treatments exist for MS, a chronic and debilitating neurological disease, which means there is a significant medical need for more effective and more convenient treatments.
Ofatumumab (HuMax-CD20), a promising monoclonal antibody, will move into phase II development early in 2008, exploring its potential in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. The programme, to be conducted in approximately 300 patients, will comprise two stages: an initial safety phase, followed by a larger placebo-controlled study/phase to evaluate efficacy. Scientific literature provides evidence supporting therole of B-cells in MS and the potential of antibody therapies that target and bind to CD20 antigens. This evidence, together with the unique binding of ofatumumab and its potential to cause no or a low immune response, could result in a significant new treatment option for patients.
A phase II study with firategrast, a dual alpha4 integrin antagonist (VLA4), in MS is ongoing in 13 countries. Comprising 350 patients, the study aims to provide proof-of-concept data supporting the potential for this treatment. Firategrast has the same proven mechanism of action as a leading MS treatment, natalizumab, but could offer a preferred oral formulation with a superior tolerability profile. Data from this study are anticipated in 2009.
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