Russia Develops Novel Multiple Sclerosis Drug

New MS diagnoses are steadily on the rise.

Russia has developed a novel drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) that is expected to be less expensive than other similar treatments.

The new drug will reportedly be produced by Pharmasyntez, and is currently undergoing clinical studies that will appear on the market after 2020, an official spokesman for Veronika Skvortsova, minister of health, told The Pharma Letter.

Public records revealed in April 2016 safety and efficacy data from the manufacturer for a phase 2a trial of the CD antigen modulator Xemys, for the treatment of MS; however, details of the novel MS drug have yet to be officially released.

In the Russian market, there are few drugs for the treatment of MS, aside from the most important drug, Copaxone. Alexander Gabibov, professor of the Russian Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, told The Pharma Letter that the recently developed MS drug involves the use of a more specific therapy, in which peptide fragments of myelin basic protein are integrated into liposomes.

Reports indicate that the drug is expected to be significantly cheaper than Copaxone and other important medications.

MS cases are steadily on the rise in Russia. According to data of the Russian Ministry of Health, there were 72,767 individuals with MS registered in Russia in 2016.

Igor Stolyarov, head of the laboratory of neuroimmunology of the Center for Multiple Sclerosis, told Pharma Letter that patients need medication that improves efficacy in the later stages of the disease, when drug efficacy decreases with time.

In the United States, phase 3 trials of ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) showed promise in the treatment of patients with relapsing MS and primary progressive MS. Additionally, the FDA gave final approval in January for dalfampridine extended-release tablets, a bioequivalent of MS drug Amprya.