FDA advisory committee gives nod to investigational MS drug

EAST HANOVER, N.J. An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended approval for an investigational Novartis drug for multiple sclerosis, the Swiss drug maker said.

The committee recommended approval for FTY720 (fingolimod), for patients with relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease. FDA advisory committee recommendations do not guarantee approval for a drug, but the agency will take them into account when deciding whether or not to grant full approval.

“This is an encouraging and important milestone for the MS community,” National Multiple Sclerosis Society VP biomedical research Patricia O’Looney said. “We believe that a treatment that reduces relapses and slows disability progression in a convenient oral formulation could encourage more people with MS to initiate treatment in the course of this life-long disease.”