IVF treatment with Ferring’s Menopur yields a significantly higher live birth rate than that achieved with Serono’s recombinant follicle stimulating hormone product Gonal F (follitropin alfa), according to findings presented at this week’s meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), held in Prague, Czech Republic.

In the largest ever comparison of two gonadotrophin preparations, a combined analysis was undertaken of data from both the MERiT (Menotrophin vs. Recombinant FSH in vitro Fertilisation Trial) and another large trial, the EISG (European and Israeli Study Group).

The results showed that the live birth rate was significantly higher in the women receiving Menopur (menotropins; 26%) compared to the women who received Gonal F (21%). There were no significant safety differences between the two infertility treatments, including miscarriages, multiple pregnancies or ectopic pregnancies.

Dr Peter Platteau, Free University, Brussels, Belgium, commented that the live birth rate advantage for Menopur was likely due to the inclusion of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in Menopur, in addition to FSH (follicle stimulating hormone)

“I believe that the hCG [in Menopur] explains the difference in pregnancy rates between the two treatments. The hCG content of Menopur gives a better prepared endometrium and ‘top quality’ embryos,” he said

Menopur is used by almost 45,000 patients each year and is currently licensed in over 40 countries across the world. Dr Dirk Schneider, medical director, obstetrics and gynaecology at Ferring, told PharmaTimes that the data presented at ESHRE were very important for Ferring.

“The results clearly show the difference between Menopur and Gonal F and that hCG is the main differentiator between the two compounds.”

Menopur was launched in the USA in April 2005, and has reportedly been making gains in the marketplace for fertility drugs, assaulting the lead in the marketplace enjoyed by Gonal F and Puregon (follitropin beta), sold by Organon.

According to the World Health Organisation, one in six couples have to seek help to conceive and the problem ma result from an increase tendency for women to postpone motherhood until later in life, which can result in age-related infertility.