Biogen Idec ($BIIB) is a well-known player in the multiple sclerosis field. And it's about to achieve an even higher profile with BG-12, a promising new treatment that has posted impressive efficacy results and a relatively clean safety profile--a big deal for patients now threatened with a host of severe side effects.
Scientists have published the results from two big Phase III studies for BG-12 (dimethyl fumarate), demonstrating that both of the treatment regimens studied in the pivotal program cut the annual MS relapse rate by about half. The twice-daily dose was associated with a drop in new or expanded lesions by 71% to 99%. And there was a 38% reduction in progression to disability.
The data has been so strong that a number of analysts give Biogen Idec the inside track on Sanofi ($SNY), which has just landed one MS drug approval for Aubagio and appears to be on track for another with Lemtrada. But as Sanofi subsidiary Genzyme knows, this is the kind of disease that can be awfully hard to tackle. The more choices that exist for the $12 billion market, the better for patients.
An approval here would serve as a big endorsement for George Scangos (pictured), even though the ex-Exelixis chief inherited the program from his predecessor. In biotech, timing is everything.
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