Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ: TEVA) and Active Biotech (NASDAQ OMX NORDIC: ACTI) announced today initial results from the two-year Phase III ALLEGRO study, which demonstrated that relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) patients treated with 0.6 mg daily oral laquinimod experienced a statistically significant reduction in annualized relapse rate compared to placebo. Additional clinical endpoints, including significant reduction in disability progression, as measured by Expanded Disability Severity Scale (EDSS), were also achieved.
“Laquinimod demonstrated a significant reduction in the progression of disability which may be explained by its unique mechanism of action that includes neuroprotective properties. Laquinimod may therefore be a promising therapeutic option for the MS community.”
Laquinimod was safe and well-tolerated. The overall frequencies of adverse events were comparable to those observed in the placebo group. No deaths were reported in laquinimod-treated patients. Overall incidence of infections was similar between the two arms of the trial.
"This pivotal study met its primary endpoint while maintaining a very good safety profile," says Principal Investigator, Professor Giancarlo Comi, Director of the Department of Neurology and Institute of Experimental Neurology at the University Vite Salute, San Raffaele, Italy. "Laquinimod demonstrated a significant reduction in the progression of disability which may be explained by its unique mechanism of action that includes neuroprotective properties. Laquinimod may therefore be a promising therapeutic option for the MS community."
"We are very pleased to have achieved this major milestone in the development of oral laquinimod, a novel therapy that can potentially improve the lives of many MS patients in a safe way," said Shlomo Yanai, Teva's President and Chief Executive Officer.
Additional analyses of the ALLEGRO study data are ongoing, and detailed results will be submitted for presentation at a leading scientific conference during the first half of 2011.
Laquinimod received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2009. The second phase III study, BRAVO is still ongoing with results anticipated in the third quarter of 2011. Regulatory submissions in the U.S. and the EU will then follow.
In addition to the ongoing MS clinical studies, laquinimod is currently in Phase II development for Crohn's disease and Lupus, and is being studied in other autoimmune diseases.
Following the successful study results, Teva filed a patent application covering the use of laquinimod in slowing the progression of disability in MS patients.