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Biogen Multiple Sclerosis Drug Daclizumab follows Ampyra Success

Biogen Idec and its collaborator, Abbott, have started the patient enrollment phase of its promising Multiple Sclerosis drug, daclizumab. The effects of the drug will be compared to its existing drug, Avonex. Daclizumab promises to be the second breakthrough treatment for Multiple Sclerosis this year by the pharmaceutical giant, the first being Ampyra, a drug that is distributed in the United States by Acorda. In other news, Biogen Idec has applied to market Ampyra in Canada and Europe, bringing hope for improved quality of life to thousands of Multiple Sclerosis patients worldwide. Also, through its global partnerships, Biogen Idec is well on its way to position itself as the leader in Multiple Sclerosis treatments.

Acorda Therapeutics, the company that brought Biogen Idec’s Multiple Sclerosis drug Ampyra to the American market, announced impressive patient data results for Ampyra at the April meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. Published data suggests remarkable improvements in patients’ ability to walk and to walk faster. Approved by the FDA in January, Ampyra was developed to improve the mobility of Multiple Sclerosis patients. Earlier this month, Ampyra was recognized by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) for its outstanding results in Multiple Sclerosis patients. Ampyra is historical because it is the first pharmaceutical product that is able to produce these benefits. Data presented to the Academy pertained to walking tests where Multiple Sclerosis patients were asked to walk 25 feet. The performance of patients treated with Ampyra was evaluated and compared to a placebo group as well as to the patients’ original condition. Another product marketed by Acorda, Zanaflex, provides short term relief from spasticity. Other drugs expected to be released by the company involve regenerative treatments for the brain and spinal cord.

Biogen Idec has another new drug, BG-12, that is also in the patient testing stage. If it and daclizumab are both approved, this year could be the biggest year ever for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Daclizumab is being tested in 28 countries with about 1,500 test subjects and has shown promising results in the first two phases of its development. Multiple Sclerosis is considered to be the most common neurological disorder in the world, with an estimated two to three million victims.

Sources:

“Acorda Therapeutics Announces Data on AMPYRA (dalfampridine) Presented at American Academy of Neurology Meeting.” Drugs.com. http://www.drugs.com/clinical_trials/acorda-therapeutics-announces-data-ampyra-dalfampridine-presented-american-academy-neurology-meeting-9137.html (accessed May 27, 2010).

Zacks Investment Research. “Biogen Idec Starts Patient Enrollment.” Daily Markets. May 26, 2010. http://www.dailymarkets.com/stocks/2010/05/26/Biogen Idec-starts-patient-enrollment/ (accessed May 274, 2010).