The excitement around Tecfidera makes an improved and more convenient version of the drug a valuable commodity, if it can be developed successfully. Alkermes has a lot to prove with its MMF prodrug. Biogen is not the company's only competition or worry, either. Xenoport (XNPT) is also developing an MMF prodrug for multiple sclerosis, with phase I data expected later this summer.
The other two drugs introduced by Alkermes Wednesday:
A novel painkiller, ALKS 7106, designed from the ground up to have a low potential for abuse and overdose. A phase I study will start in mid-2014.
A cancer drug, RDB 1419, based on IL-2 and designed to expand the number of tumor-killing cells involved in the immunotherapeutic effects on cancer.Alkermes also announced plans to conduct a phase II study of ALKS 3831, a new oral antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia which combines olanzapine (brand name: Zyprexa) with a novel opioid modulator ALKS 33. ALKS 381 is designed to match Zyprexa's efficacy without causing weight gain, a common problem for schizophrenia patients on current medications. The phase II study will compare ALKS 3831 head-to-head against Zyprexa. -- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. Follow @AdamFeuerstein
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