Biogen Idec (BIIB)’s CEO, George Scangos, took charge two years ago to take a closer look into a drug that could help slow the progression of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The drug, called dexpramipexole, is in the final stages of clinical trials required for FDA approval, according to Bloomberg. (STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Follow Kapitall on Twitter)
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, causes nerve damage that leads to muscular shutdown and respiratory failure. Currently, Sanofi (SNY)’s Rilutek is the only drug on the market that shows any benefit, though slight, in reducing ALS’s progression. Cowen & Co.’s Eric Schmidt said that sales for the drug provide the company $50 million in the U.S.
Patients that have been given doses of dexpramipexole have shown an effect that appears to be dose-dependent in its Phase 2 trial, meaning the more medication the patients take the greater the positive effects. Researchers caution that this does not guarantee that the treatment will work, and Schmidt wrote in a research note that there have been as many as 20 failed studies of experimental medicines for ALS.
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(Written by Danny Guttridge)