A drug to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) developed by Swiss drug maker, Roche, met main and secondary objectives in two studies, boosting the firm's hopes of moving beyond its core cancer business.
The studies on the drug ocrelizumab to treat MS showed the drug when injected, significantly reduced the relapses and the progression of the disabilities when compared with Rebif, an established injectable drug.
Rebif, made by Germany's Merck KGaA, is battling stiff competition from a new generation of oral drugs against MS.
Sandra Horning, Roche's chief medical officer and head of global product development, said, "Based on these compelling results, we plan to submit the data for review to U.S. and EU regulatory authorities in the first quarter of 2016."
Roche said the drug showed a similar amount of adverse effects as Rebif, or interferon, the most common being infusion-related reactions, ones involving the immune system. The incidence of serious adverse reactions associated with the drug, such as serious infections, was also similar.
Roche is the world's largest maker of cancer drugs, is trying to branch out into other areas. The company has more than a dozen investigational medicines in clinical development for diseases that include multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, spinal muscular atrophy, Parkinson's disease, Down syndrome and autism.