Author Interviews, Biogen, Rheumatology / 06.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathalie Franchimont, M.D., Ph.D. Vice President Multiple Sclerosis and Immunology Development Unit Biogen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: BIIB059 is an investigational fully humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting blood dendritic cell antigen 2 (BDCA2) expressed on plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), a protein present in specific cells within the immune system. An antibody against BDCA2 may potentially interrupt production of interferons, which are inflammatory molecules that are increased in patients with lupus and thought to contribute to disease activity. The LILAC study is two-part, Phase 2, randomized, double-blind trial investigating the efficacy and safety of BIIB059 in patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Data from the CLE portion of the study were recently presented at the European E-Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2020, which was held virtually from June 3-6, 2020. Overall, study participants with CLE who received BIIB059 demonstrated statistically significant reduction of disease activity compared to those who received placebo, as assessed by the Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index Activity (CLASI-A) score. The results were encouraging and it warrants continued evaluation of BIIB059 in patients with CLE. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks healthy skin, often causing rashes and skin lesions which can be painful or itchy. There is substantial unmet medical need for people with lupus given the limited number of treatment options available to manage this difficult-to-treat and chronic disease. Ultimately, we are motivated by the possibility of bringing potential new treatment options to lupus patients in need. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biogen, Neurological Disorders, Pharmaceutical Companies / 30.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Toby Ferguson, M.D., Ph.D. Vice President, Head Neuromuscular Development Unit Biogen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by SMA, who is primarily affected and incidence? Response: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare, genetic, neuromuscular disease characterized by a loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and lower brain stem that can result in severe, progressive muscle atrophy and weakness. Approximately one in 10,000 live births have a diagnosis of SMA. It is a leading genetic cause of infant mortality; however, people of all ages are impacted by the disease. More than three years ago, SPINRAZA (nusinersen) became the first FDA-approved treatment option for SMA. The DEVOTE study, which recently treated its first patient, is designed to evaluate the safety and potential for even greater efficacy of SPINRAZA when administered at a higher dose than currently approved for the treatment of SMA. The Phase 2/3 randomized, controlled, dose-escalating study will be conducted at approximately 50 sites around the world and aims to enroll individuals of all ages with SMA. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biogen / 20.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron Deykin MD Vice President, Late Stage Clinical Development Biogen  MedicalResearch.com: What data support the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of VUMERITY™ (diroximel fumarate)? Response: The FDA approval of VUMERITY was based on a New Drug Application (NDA) submitted under the 505(b)(2) filing pathway. It included data from pharmacokinetic bridging studies comparing VUMERITY and TECFIDERA® (dimethyl fumarate) to establish bioequivalence, and relied, in part, on the FDA’s findings of safety and efficacy for TECFIDERA. The NDA submission also included interim exposure and safety findings from EVOLVE-MS-1, an ongoing, Phase 3, single-arm, open-label, two-year safety study evaluating VUMERITY in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Interim results from EVOLVE-MS-1 at the time of NDA submission included a low overall rate of VUMERITY treatment discontinuation due to adverse events (6.3 percent), and a rate of less than one percent of patients who discontinued VUMERITY treatment due to gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events. Additional exploratory efficacy endpoints in the ongoing EVOLVE-MS-1 study showed changes in clinical and radiological measures compared to baseline. (more…)
Author Interviews, McGill, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology / 09.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Douglas Arnold, MD The Montreal Neurological Institute & Hospital McGill University Montreal, QC, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Diroximel fumarate (DRF) is a novel oral fumarate, with a distinct chemical structure that is being developed for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is hypothesized that the distinct chemical structure of DRF may elicit less localized irritation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, potentially leading to improved GI tolerability. Diroximel fumarate is expected to have similar efficacy as dimethyl fumarate (marketed as TECFIDERA®), as both are converted to equivalent levels of monomethyl fumarate in the body. The EVOLVE-MS-1 study is primarily evaluating the safety of DRF and also exploring efficacy endpoints.   (more…)