UCB and Biogen Idec have discontinued a mid-stage trial of an investigational multiple sclerosis treatment which demonstrated “no clinically relevant benefit for patients”.

The companies said that a preliminary interim analysis of a Phase II study of CDP323 for the treatment of relapsing MS showed that patients enrolled in this clinical trial did not benefit as much as expected compared to placebo after a six-month treatment period. CDP323 is an orally-active small-molecule alpha-4 integrin inhibitor and UCB said that the results of this interim analysis will “trigger a re-valuation” of the compound. The Belgian firm added that it will take a “high double-digit million pre-tax euro” charge.

As for Biogen, the company noted that no cases of the potentially fatal brain infection progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy were noted. This is a relief given that just a day earlier, it was disclosed that the company’s flagship MS drug Tysabri (natalizumab), which is partnered with Ireland’s Elan Corp, has been linked to a 10th case of PML.

Neupro back on EU market
Better news for UCB came with the confirmation that the European Commission has lifted restrictions on its Parkinson's disease drug Neupro (rotigotine), the Brussels-based firm’s transdermal patch for Parkinson’s disease.

A year ago supplies of the drug were limited to patients already on the medicine due to the discovery of crystallisation problems with the product. Those problems have been sorted out and a month ago, European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended a lifting of the restrictions. Neupro has also been cleared for use for the first time as a treatment for adults with restless leg syndrome.

Positive lacosamide data
Even more good news for UCB came with the release of pooled data presented at the International Epilepsy Congress in Budapest, which showed that the firm’s antiepileptic Vimpat (lacosamide) significantly improved seizure control, increased seizure freedom rates during the maintenance phase and enhanced quality of life and patient function, when used as adjunctive therapy.

Elinor Ben-Menachem of Gothenburg University, noted that some 60% of people living with epilepsy have partial-onset seizures and around one-third remain uncontrolled, despite trying treatment with a range of drugs. These latest studies support the effectiveness of lacosamide in helping these patients, she added.