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Roche’s Ocrevus more effective than Merck’s Rebif, company claims

Published on 14/09/16 at 11:00am

Roche has announced new results from the Phase III studies of investigational medicine Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) studying relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). The data will be presented during the 32nd congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) this week in London.

In the trials, two composite endpoints measured disease control using a combination of clinical and MRI outcomes: No Evidence of Disease Activity (NEDA) in patients with RMS and No Evidence of Progression (NEP) in patients with PPMS. A NEDA analysis of pooled data from the studies compared no evidence of disease activity during different time periods over two years of study.

The data showed that Ocrevus significantly increased the proportion of RMS patients achieving NEDA by 75% compared with rival Merck’s Rebif (interferon beta-1a) over 96 weeks. Additionally, 47% higher proportion of PPMS patients achieved NEP with the treatment compared with placebo.

“Controlling clinical and sub-clinical disease activity as early as possible is an important treatment goal for people living with MS,” said professor Gavin Giovannoni, Scientific Steering Committee Member of the studies and chair of neurology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. “These new data suggest that ocrelizumab consistently impacts disease progression and has the potential to change how we approach treating both relapsing and primary progressive MS.”

The treatment was given drug breakthrough status and fast-tracked by the FDA earlier this year, causing Roche to accelerate its timeline. According to Thomson Reuters, the product could generate up to $4.09 billion by 2022.

“With no approved treatment options, primary progressive MS remains a challenge for physicians and people with MS,” said Xavier Montalban, professor of neurology and neuroimmunology at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Research Institute and Cemcat in Barcelona, Spain. “Ocrevus significantly impacted three key disability measurements, which further highlight its clinical significance in people with primary progressive MS.”

Matt Fellows

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