Roche impresses with strong phase III data for MS drug candidate
- According to Roche, the investigational ocrelizumab beat Rebif in achieving major multiple sclerosis (MS)-related endpoints in trials.
- Roche is determined to bring this new antibody-based drug to market despite the fact that there is hefty competition from oral drugs in this therapeutic space.
- However, Roche's positioning may still give ocrelizumab a competitive advantage, becasue it has a semi-annual dosing schedule.
So what's not to like? In phase III trials, ocrelizumab outperformed Rebif terms of reducing the rate of annualized relapses over two years, and also slowing the progression of disability. In addition, patients treated with ocrelizumab had fewer lesions in their brains compared with patients taking Rebif.
Though the MS market is crowded and competitive, uptake is most likely to occur among those who are tired of their beta-interferon regimens, with drugs such as Avonex, Betaseron, and Copaxone, or those who want a more convenient prescribing regimen.