Novartis says MS drug reduces relapse in patients

BASEL, Switzerland An investigational drug made by Novartis for multiple sclerosis reduced annual relapse rates in new patients by 62% compared with placebo, according to data from a two-year, late-stage clinical trial the Swiss drug maker showed Tuesday at a scientific meeting.

Presenting results from the phase 3 FREEDOMS trial at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, Novartis said the once-daily pill Gilenia (fingolimod) administered in 0.5 mg doses also reduced relapses by 44% in patients who had previously taken other treatments while delaying the progression of disability by 30%.

“These findings reinforce the potential for Gilenia to be a breakthrough therapy option for physicians and people with relapsing forms of MS,” Novartis Pharma global head of development Trevor Mundel said.