Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Report edged up Thursday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its new multiple sclerosis treatment, Zeposia, even as the pharma giant puts on ice a planned sales push amid the coronavirus emergency.
Bristol-Myers stock price rose 1.72% to $50.20 a share on news of the FDA approval for the new pill, which is designed to treat relapsing forms of MS that include brain lesions.
Zeposia underwent two clinical trials involving more than 2,600 adults, Radiance and Sunbeam, with the new drug yielding significantly better results in the treatment of relapsing forms of MS compared to the current alternative on the market, Bristol-Myers said in a press statement.
Zeposia yielded a "relative reduction" in the annualized relapse rate of MS patients who took part in the clinical trials of 48% through the first year and 38% by the end of the second.
The drug also achieved a relative 68% reduction in T1 brain lesions in the first year and a relative, 48% reduction in T2 brain lesions, the company said.
"With the FDA approval of Zeposia, appropriate patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis will have another oral treatment option with meaningful efficacy to help address the disease's hallmark relapses and brain lesions," said Dr. Samit Hirawat, chief medical officer at Bristol-Myers, in a press statement.
Bristol-Myers also expects a decision in the first half of 2020 by the European Medicines Agency on its application to market the new drug on the continent.
However, the Princeton, N. J.-based pharma giant said it will delay commercialization of the drug, noting the "country's healthcare system is dealing with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic."