Today Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) announced that it has received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in the European Union (EU) recommending a marketing authorization be granted for TECFIDERA ™ (dimethyl fumarate) as a first-line oral treatment for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The CHMP, on the basis of quality, safety and efficacy data submitted by Biogen Idec, considers there to be a favorable benefit-to-risk balance for TECFIDERA.
The CHMP's recommendation is now referred to the European Commission (EC), which grants marketing authorization for medicines in the European Union. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a decision on the marketing application for TECFIDERA in the United States in the coming days.
“With the CHMP’s positive opinion for TECFIDERA, we are one step closer to offering the European MS community a treatment with compelling efficacy and a favorable safety profile in the convenience of a pill – a combination we believe will have a significant positive impact on the way people live with this chronic disease,” said George A. Scangos, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Biogen Idec. “Biogen Idec is committed to delivering innovative treatments and setting new standards for the next generation of medicines. We believe TECFIDERA will raise expectations for what people living with MS can achieve with their therapy.”
The CHMP opinion for TECFIDERA is based on data from a large clinical development program that included two global Phase 3 studies, DEFINE and CONFIRM, involving more than 2,600 RRMS patients, as well as an ongoing extension study in which some patients have been followed for more than four years. In DEFINE, TECFIDERA, administered twice-daily, significantly reduced the proportion of patients who relapsed by 49 percent (p<0.0001), the annualized relapse rate (ARR) by 53 percent (p<0.0001), and 12-week confirmed disability progression, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), by 38 percent (p=0.0050) compared to placebo at two years. In CONFIRM, twice-daily TECFIDERA significantly reduced ARR by 44 percent (p<0.0001) and the proportion of patients who relapsed by 34 percent (p<0.0001) compared to placebo at two years. While not statistically significant, TECFIDERA showed a 21 percent reduction in 12-week confirmed disability progression in CONFIRM. In addition, both studies showed TECFIDERA significantly reduced lesions in the brain compared to placebo, as measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).