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December 2007 Off the Wire . . .

 

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New Drug Offers Potential For Restoration Of Lost Function In MS Patients
Main Category: Multiple Sclerosis News
Article Date: 10 Oct 2007 - 7:00 PDT


Accentia Biopharmaceuticals announces that it met with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 26, 2007 for a scheduled pre-Investigational New Drug (pre-IND) meeting on Revimmune™. The FDA has indicated its support for Accentia to submit an IND for a pivotal Phase 3 randomized controlled, multi-center clinical trial of Revimmune, the company's potential therapeutic for refractory, relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The FDA indicated that they support the proposed submission from Accentia and that they are in overall agreement with the proposed design of the Accentia clinical program.

The Revimmune MS study will enroll subjects in a one-year study comparing baseline disability to disability at month 12 with an interim data analysis. After consultation with the FDA on the design of the trial, it was agreed that the primary endpoint will be recovery of lost function and that this unique study will be done under a special protocol assessment (SPA). Accentia will proceed diligently with submission of the IND under a SPA and of an application for Fast Track status, and currently projects commencement of the Phase 3 study in the first half of 2008. A Special Protocol Assessment is a declaration from the Food and Drug Administration that a proposed Phase 3 trial 's design, clinical endpoints, and statistical analyses are acceptable for FDA approval. All prior approved therapeutics suppress rather than eliminate autoimmunity and they have used the more limited indication of a reduction in the rate of progression of disability as their primary endpoint, not a reduction in disability as for Revimmune.

Revimmune is the first drug to propose restoration of lost function in MS patients. Using a patent-pending, ultra-high intensity, short-course of an intravenous formulation of cyclophosphamide, Revimmune is intended to "reboot" a patient's immune system, thereby eliminating autoimmunity, whereas current therapies, including oral cyclophosphamide, are used chronically to attempt to suppress the inflammation of autoimmunity. Based on long-term follow-up with patients that showed complete remissions in previous studies, there is substantial evidence that Revimmune has the potential to cure cases of severe refractory autoimmune diseases, including aplastic anemia and myasthenia gravis. Revimmune uses a drug approved for other indications at other doses.

Developed by Dr. Richard Jones, Dr. Robert Brodsky, and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Revimmune temporarily eliminates peripheral immune cells, including the immune cells causing the autoimmunity, while selectively sparing hematopoeitic stem cells in the bone marrow. Investigators at Johns Hopkins discovered that stem cells are unique in having high levels of a particular protective enzyme that can be measured in advance of therapy, which makes them impervious to Revimmune, and allows the surviving stem cells to give rise to a new immune system over two to three weeks. The newly reconstituted peripheral immune system typically lacks the misdirected immunity to self-antigens, which is characteristic of autoimmune diseases.

Revimmune can be administered as an inpatient or outpatient infusion for four hours per day for four consecutive days. The treatment is intended to allow patients to recover at home while their immune system reconstitutes itself over a two to three week period. Revimmune includes a risk management program to enhance patient safety by ensuring appropriate patient selection, supportive care, and tracking of outcomes data. The principal investigator for the Phase 2 study with Revimmune at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is Dr. Douglas Kerr, associate professor of neurology. The co-principal investigators on this study are Dr. Daniel Drachman, Dr. Robert Brodsky, and Dr. Adam Kaplin. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has supported the clinical protocol at Johns Hopkins University

 

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