Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced that a late-stage clinical trial comprising an experimental drug, laquinimod, for the oral treatment for multiple sclerosis failed to decrease annual relapse rates in MS patients.
Also known to be the manufacturer of the MS injectable Copaxone, Teva’s shares plummeted by 5.8 percent to $43.95 (loss of $2.69) in afternoon trading.
According to their findings, laquinimod was only as effective as a placebo. The study comprised a total of 1,331 patients, and they were randomly assigned to one of the 3 treatment arms: laquinimod, a placebo, or Avonex (an older MS drug manufactured by Biogen Idec Inc.). Contrary to the results, Teva said that patients in the laquinimod and Avonex groups had severe multiple sclerosis because the MRI scans showed more brain lesions and a greater number of recent lesions.
According to Teva, laquinimod would achieve its main goal of decreasing relapse rates and reducing brain volume loss and disability provided the study results are altered to eliminate the inequity in the number of lesions.
Approval of laquinimod in the US and European Union is still being sought by Teva and its partner Active Biotech. The companies said that laquinimod had met its primary goal in its first late-stage trial in December. They added, the flare-up of the disease as well as disability was less likely in patients who consumed the drug during treatment than in those who took a placebo.
The Israeli company, Teva, is the world’s leading seller of generic drugs with Copaxone being its internationally top-selling multiple sclerosis therapy.