Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Canada Newswire English - Jan. 09, 2007
Attention Business Editors, Health Writers
CAMBRIDGE, MASS., January 9 /CNW/ - Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) announced today that it has initiated the Phase III clinical program of BG-12, an oral fumarate in development for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).
The DEFINE (determination of the efficacy and safety of oral fumarate in relapsing-remitting MS) and CONFIRM (comparator and an oral fumarate in relapsing-remitting MS) studies will include more than 2,000 total patients in North America, Europe and rest of world. These studies have been initiated internationally, and Biogen Idec plans to initiate these studies in the U.S. later this year. DEFINE and CONFIRM are two-year, randomized, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-comparison studies to determine the safety and efficacy of BG-12 in subjects with relapsing-remitting MS. CONFIRM will also include a glatiramer acetate (Copaxone(R)) reference comparator arm.
Endpoints of both studies include evaluating the effect of BG-12 on measurements of clinical relapse, the progression of disability, and various MRI measures.
"Earlier studies of BG-12 support its potential as an oral therapy for multiple sclerosis. The extensive Phase III clinical program of BG-12 will provide greater understanding of its promise in MS," said DEFINE lead investigator Ralf Gold, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, St. Josef-Hospital/Ruhr-University Bochum. "MS is a disease that continues to have an unmet need for safe and effective oral therapeutic options."
"The development of BG-12 furthers Biogen Idec's commitment to advancing the treatment of MS. We have a diverse portfolio of therapeutic candidates and are dedicated to the pursuit of innovative research that will yield multiple options for people living with this devastating disease,"said Alfred Sandrock, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President, Neurology Research and Development, Biogen Idec.
BG-12 Phase II Study Results
Data from a Phase II study designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BG-12 were presented at two European neurological medical meetings in 2006. The Phase II multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study enrolled 257 patients at sites in 10 countries in Europe. Patients were randomized to receive placebo or BG-12 at 120 mg, 360 mg, or 720 mg per day orally for six months. The patient group treated with 720 mg of BG-12 per day had a 69% reduction (p(less than)0.001) in the mean number of new gadolinium-enhancing lesions versus placebo as measured monthly from weeks 12 to 24 of the study. The 720 mg dose group also had a 48% reduction (p(less than)0.001) in new or newly enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions at six months compared to baseline. Although the study was not powered to achieve statistical significance for this endpoint, there was a 32% reduction (p=0.272) in relapse rate compared to placebo at the 720 mg dose. The results of the 120 mg and 360 mg BG-12-treated groups were not statistically significant versus placebo on any endpoints.
The most common adverse events were flushing, gastrointestinal disorders, headache, and nasopharyngitis. The incidence of liver enzyme elevation greater than or equal to three times the upper limit of normal at any time during the placebo controlled phase of the study was between 2% and 8% in the three active treatment groups, compared with 5% in the placebo group. Improvement in liver enzyme levels was seen after discontinuation of BG-12. The overall rate of infection was the same in the total BG-12-and placebo-treated groups, and no opportunistic infections occurred.
Data suggest that BG-12, an oral fumarate derivative, is an immunomodulator with a novel mechanism of action with a combination of cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Based on available clinical and scientific information with BG-12 and fumarates, there is strong technical rationale for development of BG-12 in a number of T-cell mediated autoimmune and/or inflammatory diseases.
About Biogen Idec
Biogen Idec creates new standards of care in oncology, neurology and immunology. As a global leader in the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of novel therapies, Biogen Idec transforms scientific discoveries into advances in human healthcare. For product labeling, press releases and additional information about the company, please visit http://www.biogenidec.com.
Safe Harbor/Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding the development of BG-12 for multiple sclerosis. These statements are based on our current beliefs and expectations. They are subject to the risks inherent in drug development, including the risks that the effects of the product in larger clinical trials may not be as expected or that there may be safety issues or other problems or delays that arise during clinical trials, unexpected technical or manufacturing hurdles, or intellectual property disputes. There is no certainty that the risk/benefit profile of the product will be acceptable to the Company or to regulatory authorities for a particular indication. Drug development involves a high degree of risk. Only a small number of research and development programs result in the commercialization of a product. Success in early stage clinical trials does not ensure that later stage or larger scale clinical trials will be successful. For more detailed information on the risks and uncertainties associated with these forward looking statements and Biogen Idec's other activities, see the periodic and other reports that Biogen Idec has filed with the SEC. Biogen Idec does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements.
Biogen Idec MEDIA CONTACTS: Amy Brockelman, 617-914-6524 or INVESTOR CONTACTS: Eric Hoffman, 617-679-2812