Forward Pharma A/S has taken a different path to improve the safety and efficacy of fumarate than has Biogen Idec Inc. While Biogen's BG-12 is under review for multiple sclerosis, Forward has set its sights on psoriasis with a controlled-release formulation that could have better tolerability than either first-generation fumarates or BG-12.

Fumarate has been used to treat psoriasis in Europe since the 1950s. Fumaderm, a first-generation oral dimethyl fumarate (DMF) marketed in Germany by Biogen Idec, is the most prescribed psoriasis drug in that country because it does not carry serious side effects, such as immunosupression, that are found with first-line oral methotrexate and second-line biologics.