Sunday, September 30, 2007

MS treatment Tysabri wins approval in New Zealand

Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:06am EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and partner Elan Corp (ELN.I: Quote, Profile, Research) said their drug Tysabri has been approved in New Zealand for treatment of the relapsing remitting form of multiple sclerosis.

The approval was based on favorable results of a two-year late-stage trial of the medicine, the companies said in a release, noting that an estimated 4,000 people in New Zealand are affected by MS.

The progressive disease -- which can lead to varying levels of paralysis, visual problems and other serious complications -- is caused by damage to the fatty myelin sheath that insulates nerves and helps neurons carry electronic messages.

The drugmakers said clinical data show the medicine, after two years of use, reduced by 68 percent the annual number of relapses in flare-ups of the disease compared to placebo and reduced the risk of disability progression by 42 percent.

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