Neurology

A recently published commentary examines the global multiple sclerosis (MS) drug market from the perspective of patients and physicians, noting that different regulatory bodies have different standards in place for approvals, and questions if safety concerns are being addressed.
Autoimmune myasthenia gravis is typically treated with surgery, acetylcholine esterase inhibitors, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive drugs like azathioprine and mycophenolate mofetil. Some patients have refractory disease and may require therapies like eculizumab (Soliris), which, while effective, is a particularly high-cost biologic that has no approved biosimilars in Europe or the United States, although biosimilars are advancing through clinical development. Rituximab, however, which is lower-cost than eculizumab and has multiple approved biosimilars, has also emerged as a promising treatment. 
Researchers from biotech company Tetra Therapeutics have reported that, in their retrospective population-based study of 56 million patients with inflammatory diseases, use of anti–tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents was linked with a reduced risk of Alzheimer disease.
On Monday, Polpharma Biologics announced that it has randomized the first patients in its phase 3 study of PB006, a proposed natalizumab biosimilar, and patients have begun to receive the study medication.
While eculizumab is being targeted by multiple biosimilar developers who are in phase 3 clinical trials with their competitive products, spending on eculizumab is reaching concerning levels; as such, it is increasingly important to clarify eculizumab’s place in the treatment paradigm for myasthenia gravis (MG).
While rituximab does not carry indications for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) or aquaporin-4-positive (AQP4) neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), the CD20-depleting therapy and its biosimilars are commonly used off-label, as the therapy has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing relapses in MS as well as in reducing the frequency and severity of attacks in NMOSD.
During this week’s meeting of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, held September 11-13 in Stockholm, Sweden, researchers are presenting new data for eculizumab in the treatment of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), a rare autoimmune disorder that typically affects the optic nerves and spinal cord and that can cause significant, irreversible disability.
Just last week, Sandoz indicated that it will commercialize a biosimilar of the multiple sclerosis (MS) drug natalizumab (Tysabri). This week, during the 35th meeting of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, held September 11-13 in Stockholm, Sweden, researchers will present data that help contextualize natalizumab’s place in the treatment paradigm for MS.
Sandoz, a Novartis division, announced today that it has entered into a global commercialization agreement with Poland-based Polpharma Biologics for a proposed natalizumab biosimilar referencing Biogen’s Tysabri. Natalizumab is a disease-modifying therapy used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as Crohn disease.
 
With patents on reference products that treat multiple sclerosis (MS) set to expire soon in the region, a panel of experts in Latin America recently published a set of recommendations regarding the efficacy, safety, and quality of biosimilars in these countries.

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