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Feb 23, 2004
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

A one-two punch in MS

If the Phase III data for Antegren natalizumab from Elan Corp. plc and Biogen Idec Inc. look anything like the Phase II data, the compound potentially could supplant existing treatments for multiple sclerosis - beta interferons and copolymer-1. But the partners are betting that Antegren will be used in combination with BIIB's Avonex interferon beta-1a, possibly to protect BIIB's Avonex franchise, which brought in about $1 billion in revenues last year.

Either way, investors and competitors are likely to get some answers a year earlier than expected, as the partners announced last week that they would submit a BLA based on one-year interim data from two ongoing two-year Phase III trials: a 900-patient trial of Antegren alone versus placebo, and a 1,200-patient trial of Antegren plus Avonex versus Avonex alone. Antegren is given as a monthly infusion, while Avonex is injected intramuscularly once a week.

"All the marketed therapies reduce frequency of relapse by 30-35%. In our Phase II study,...

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