Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Lundbeck have presented new data from a late-stage trial of Azilect which suggest that the already-marketed drug could become the first disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson's Disease.

The companies unveiled data from the Phase III study called ADAGIO which showed that 1 mg tablets of Azilect (rasagiline) slowed the progression of Parkinson's disease. The 18-month study, which was based on the recommendations of the US Food and Drug Administration, involved 1,176 patients with early Parkinson's disease in 14 countries and Azilect met all three primary endpoints, as well as the secondary and additional end points, "all with statistical significance".

Teva and Lundbeck said that more detailed data analysis will take place over the coming weeks and will be presented to the medical community at a later date. The Israeli-based group said that it intends to submit these results to the regulatory authorities in the USA and Europe and it believes Azilect could become the first Parkinson's disease treatment to receive a label for disease modification.

"This achievement demonstrates the strength of Teva's innovative R&D capabilities and highlights our continued commitment to the development of treatments for the more challenging areas of neurological diseases," said the firm's chief executive Shlomo Yanai. He added that the positive results "could dramatically increase the market potential for Azilect", which had first-quarter sales of $37.5 million, up 50%.

The news has also done no harm to Lundbeck and the Danish firm's shares at 10.30 this morning were up 3.7% to 119.75 kroner each.