Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ: TEVA) and Active Biotech (NASDAQ OMX NORDIC: ACTI) today announced results from several studies demonstrating that laquinimod, a novel, investigational once-daily oral immunomodulator for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) may have neuroprotective properties in addition to its anti-inflammatory effects. These studies were presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
“As MS research progresses, emphasis will not only be on delaying disease progression, but on preventing permanent nerve damage”
New data from studies in RRMS patients demonstrate that treatment with laquinimod results in a significant increase in brain derived neurotrophic factor, a key protein responsible for the maintenance of mature neurons.
Additionally, data from new animal models show that following treatment with laquinimod there were significant reductions in the extent of demyelination, and more axonal preservation within spinal cord lesions. Furthermore, treatment with laquinimod inhibited the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the spinal cord and brain, and caused a positive shift in specific white blood cells involved in multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology.
These findings suggest that laquinimod may have neuroprotective properties in addition to anti-inflammatory effects. Coupled with the Phase IIb study results, which demonstrated oral laquinimod to be effective and safe in RRMS patients, these data provide further insight into the contributing factors surrounding the favorable benefit-risk profile associated with this compound to date.
"As MS research progresses, emphasis will not only be on delaying disease progression, but on preventing permanent nerve damage," said Ralf Linker, M.D., Department of Neurology, St. Josef-Hospital/Ruhr-University Bochum. "These data are encouraging and suggest that the mechanism of action of laquinimod may contribute to neuroprotection in RRMS patients, in addition to providing therapeutic benefit through immunomodulation."
Laquinimod received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2009. Two pivotal global Phase III clinical trials, BRAVO and ALLEGRO, are fully enrolled and results are anticipated next year.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.