Genzyme and Bayer Schering Pharma, Germany Announce Start of Phase 3 Program with Alemtuzumab for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., and BERLIN, Sept. 26 -- Genzyme Corporation and Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Germany today announced that the first patient has been treated in the first of two planned Phase 3 trials examining the safety and efficacy of alemtuzumab for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The CARE-MS I trial (Comparison of Alemtuzumab and Rebif Efficacy in Multiple Sclerosis), a randomized, rater-blinded study, will compare alemtuzumab to Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a) in patients with relapsing- remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Alemtuzumab will be given in two annual cycles; Rebif will be administered three times per week. The CARE-MS I study will include patients who have been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS but who have not yet begun treatment with any MS drug. CARE-MS II is scheduled to begin soon and will enroll patients who have continued to experience relapse episodes while on currently available disease-modifying therapies.
Initiation of this Phase 3 program follows the successful completion of the initial treatment period in the Phase 2 trial. Interim results from the Phase 2 trial indicated that alemtuzumab-treated patients experienced a statistically significant reduction compared with Rebif-treated patients in the risk for sustained accumulation of disability and the risk for relapse for 24 months. Results of the primary outcomes from this trial at 36 months are expected to be presented on Oct. 14 by Professor Alastair Compston during the Charcot Award lecture at the annual meeting of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, in Prague.
The CARE-MS I study will enroll up to 525 patients at approximately 60 medical centers throughout North America, Australia, Latin America, and Europe, and will again compare alemtuzumab-treated patients to Rebif-treated patients according to two co-primary endpoints: the time to sustained accumulation of disability, and the annualized relapse rate. Alemtuzumab will be dosed at 12 mg/day for five days by daily IV infusion, with a second dosing 12 months later of 12 mg/day for three days. All patients will be followed from their entry into the trial until two years from the date that the last patient is randomized to treatment. Alemtuzumab-treated patients will continue to have safety evaluations for at least three years after the last course of treatment. The companies anticipate filing for marketing approval of alemtuzumab for the treatment of MS in 2011.
Alemtuzumab is an investigational drug for the treatment of MS and must not be used outside of a formal clinical trial setting in MS patients. Physicians or patients seeking additional information about the CARE-MS I trial should contact Genzyme Medical Information at 1-800-745-4447, option 2 in the United States, + 31 35 6991499 in Europe, or visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which the immune system can attack the brain and spinal cord. The disease causes a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, difficulty walking, numbness, and vision problems, and can progress to cause severe disability. Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common form of this disease.
Alemtuzumab is licensed in the United States as a single agent for the treatment of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL), and outside of the U.S. for the treatment of B-CLL in patients who have been treated with alkylating agents and who have failed fludarabine therapy. The product was launched in its oncology indication in 2001 in the US, where it is marketed by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. as Campath(R), and in Europe, where it is named MabCampath(R).
Alemtuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to a specific target, CD52, on cell surfaces and directs the body's immune system to destroy those cells. It is the first and only monoclonal antibody approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with B-CLL.
Genzyme and Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Germany are co-developing alemtuzumab in oncology, multiple sclerosis and other indications. Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Germany holds exclusive worldwide marketing and distribution rights to alemtuzumab.
Campath has a boxed warning which includes information on cytopenias, infusion reactions, and infections. The most commonly reported adverse reactions in patients with B-CLL were infusion reactions (fever, chills, hypotension, urticaria, nausea, rash, tachycardia, dyspnea), cytopenias (neutropenia, lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia), and infections (CMV viremia, CMV infection, other infections). In clinical trials, the frequency of infusion reactions was highest in the first week of treatment. Other commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, abdominal pain, insomnia and anxiety. The most commonly reported serious adverse reactions are cytopenias, infusion reactions, and immunosuppression/infections.
One of the world's leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people with serious diseases. Since 1981, the company has grown from a small start-up to a diversified enterprise with more than 9,500 employees in locations spanning the globe and 2006 revenues of $3.2 billion. In 2007, Genzyme was chosen to receive the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States for technological innovation. In 2006 and 2007, Genzyme was selected by FORTUNE as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for" in the United States.
With many established products and services helping patients in nearly 90 countries, Genzyme is a leader in the effort to develop and apply the most advanced technologies in the life sciences. The company's products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant, and diagnostic testing. Genzyme's commitment to innovation continues today with a substantial development program focused on these fields, as well as immune disease, infectious disease, and other areas of unmet medical need.
About Bayer Schering Pharma
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. The pharmaceuticals business operates under the name Bayer Schering Pharma AG. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Find more information at http://www.bayerhealthcare.com .
Bayer Schering Pharma is a worldwide leading specialty pharmaceutical company. Its research and business activities are focused on the following areas: Diagnostic Imaging, Hematology/Cardiology, Oncology, Primary Care, Specialized Therapeutics and Women's Healthcare. With innovative products, Bayer Schering Pharma aims for leading positions in specialized markets worldwide. Using new ideas, Bayer Schering Pharma aims to make a contribution to medical progress and strives to improve the quality of life. Find more information at http://www.bayerscheringpharma.de .
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements about the initiation of clinical trials, regulatory plans and expected timelines for alemtuzumab, including the initiation of a second Phase 3 trial in MS patients and the timing thereof, the timing of obtaining clinical trial data, enrollment in clinical trials and the ability to manage patient safety. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: that final results of the clinical trial demonstrate safety and efficacy comparable to the interim data that have emerged to date, the actual timing and content of submissions to and decisions made by the regulatory authorities, institutional review boards, data safety monitoring boards and treating physicians regarding the continued administration of alemtuzumab to MS patients, Genzyme's ability to develop and obtain approval of a patient safety plan, and the other risks and uncertainties described in reports filed by Genzyme with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including without limitation the information under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations section of the Genzyme Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ending June 30, 2007. Genzyme cautions investors not to place substantial reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Genzyme undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements