MS treatment staggers – but is it out?


Petach Tikva/Lund – Active Biotech AB suffered a severe setback in the development of its oral multiple sclerosis drug laquinimod. Together with ally Teva (Israel), the Swedish drugmaker announced that the substance failed in Phase III testing. A joint statement from the two companies stated that “results showed that the BRAVO study did not achieve its primary endpoint of reducing the annualised relapse rate.” However, there was data demonstrating significant reduction in brain-volume loss and the risk of disability progression. Teva said that study participants showed a 21.5% annual reduction in relapses, a 27.5% reduction in brain volume loss and a 33.5% reduction in the risk of disability progression – as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale – compared to those who received a placebo. Despite the setback, the drugmaker remains committed to laquinimod, Teva officials told analysts during a conference call. And data adjustment might do the trick. MRI scans showed patients in the laquinimod group had more brain lesions, which indicates they had more severe multiple sclerosis. If study results are adjusted to remove that imbalance, laquinimod might meet its primary goal of lowering the relapse rate. Analysts remained unconvinced: “We are not aware of a precedent case where an MS drug was approved without two statistically significant trials,” said Christopher Holterhoff from Oppenheimer & Co Inc. Analysts from Nordea Markets slashed the price target for Active Biotech to SEK40 from SEK70, while at the same time upgrading its recommendation from “Sell” to “Hold”. The company’s shares have dropped by about 60% since the beginning of August.



Stockholm – The Swedish Research Council is commissioning the Stockholm-based Karolinska Institute to host two new national infrastructures for research in biomedicine: the BioBanking and Molecular Resource Infrastructure of...



Personalised diagnostics open up possibilities for reducing adverse drug effects and choosing the most effective medicine for an individual patient based on a set of biomarkers. While many disease and stratification biomarkers...



Stockholm – Sweden’s Karolinska Institute medical university has received a grant of EUR10m (SEK 100m) from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation for a regenerative medicine research centre. It will be named the Wallenberg...



Stockholm – High levels of beta-tocopherol (vitamin E) in the blood appears to protect against the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in advanced age, researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institute have found out following a 6 year...



Uppsala - Swedish Orexo AB has licensed out its OX-CLI and OX-ESI programmes to Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV ("OMJ"). In addition to the programmes focusing on discovering and developing...



Huddinge – Pharmaceutical company Medivir AB, which focuses on drugs to fight infectious diseases caused by viruses, plans to raise EUR34m (SEK 325m) through the sale of 5.2 million shares at SEK62 in a rights offering taking...



Kund – Swedish company CellaVision AB plans to apply for a listing on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm, Small Cap during the first half of 2010. The company wants to increase opportunities for institutional investors and create better...



Stockholm – The newly formed Swedish Orphan Biovitrum is ready to get down to business. To finance the acquisition of Swedish Orphan International, the best-known of Sweden’s biotech companies, Bio­vitrum AB, raised SEK1.5bn...

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