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Genzyme reports lackluster results in MS drug trial


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — An orally administered drug made by Genzyme for treating multiple sclerosis did not appear superior to a biotech drug already on the market, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial.

Genzyme, owned by French drug maker Sanofi, compared the once-daily drug teriflunomide with Rebif (interferon beta-1a), made by Pfizer and Merck KGaA, in patients with relapsing MS in the 324-patient "TENERE" trial. Merck KGaA, based in Germany, operates under the name EMD Serono in the United States to avoid confusion with U.S.-based Merck & Co.

Teriflunomide in doses of 7 mg and 14 mg did not show superiority over Rebif on risk of treatment failure, defined as a disease relapse or permanent discontinuation of treatment for any reason. Among patients receiving the 7-mg dose, 48.6% did not show risk of treatment failure, compared with 37.8% of those taking the 14-mg dose, and 42.3% of those taking Rebif.

Estimated annual relapse rates were higher among patients taking teriflunomide in the 7-mg dose than among those taking the 14-mg dose or Rebif, while patients taking Rebif showed higher rates of permanent treatment discontinuation than those taking teriflunomide.



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