June 28, 2006

A recently published study shows multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Copaxone, marketed by Teva Pharmaceutical and sanofi-aventis, reduced annual relapse rates 75 percent in patients who switched to Copaxone from MS treatment Betaseron, the drugmakers said recently.

Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) also cut annual relapse rates by 75 percent in patients who had never received any other MS treatment, according to the study, published in the June issue of the journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. A high population of patients in the study experienced no relapses for the entire three-and-a-half-year trial: 68.4 percent of the patients previously on Betaseron and 69.5 percent of patients without prior treatment, according to Teva.

Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) is marketed by New Jersey-based Berlex, the U.S. affiliate of German drugmaker Schering AG.

"Treatment with Copaxone showed clinical benefit, both to patients who had failed treatment with Betaseron and as a first-line option for patients who were new to treatment with disease-modifying drugs," primary investigator Howard Zwibel said in a statement. The study, which included 805 patients, was conducted at the Baptist Health Doctors Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Center in Coral Gables, Fla.