Swiss drug maker Roche said that the results of its experimental drug, ocrelizumab for multiple sclerosis performed better in a late-stage clinical trial, raising the hopes of sufferers of the disease.
The drug was found to cut relapses by almost 50 percent more than the current standard treatment.
The drug also showed to benefit a form of the disease, known as primary-progressive, or PPMS, which affects 10 to 15 percent of people in the UK giving it the potential to be the first medicine on the market for those patients.
"These phase three trial results will provide a great deal of hope for people with primary-progressive MS, who currently don't have any treatments available that can slow down the worsening of their condition," said Nick Rijke, the MS Society's executive director for policy and research.
"Finding effective treatments for multiple sclerosis is our number one priority at the MS Society and this is a big moment. So far only the top-line results from this trial have been announced, so we look forward to seeing the full details with great anticipation. We hope such an encouraging outcome will stimulate further progress in beating this disease," said Rijke.
The drug was compared in the trials with Rebif, an established drug made by Merck that reduces relapses by about a third.
Roche's drug delayed progression of disability by 46 percent and 47 percent compared with Rebif in the two trials. The biggest advantage, however, may be that it is claimed to cause fewer side effects than the established drug.