Five clinics in the Washington area that specialize in administering intravenous and injected treatments to people with chronic diseases are now offering the new multiple sclerosis therapy Ocrevus (ocrelizumab).
Arise Infusion Therapy Services said its staff is helping patients manage the authorization process that many insurers require before agreeing to cover Ocrevus. The staff is also helping to secure co-payment assistance for those in need.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Ocrevus in March of 2017 for treating relapsing MS. Relapsing refers to both relapsing-remitting MS, or RRMS, and secondary progressive MS with relapses or SPMS. Secondary progressive MS often follows relapsing-remitting MS.
Ocrevus, which was developed by Genentech, is the first therapy the FDA has approved for PPMS.
The humanized monoclonal antibody targets a protein called CD20 on the surface of B-cells. Scientists have linked B-cells that have the protein to the deterioration of the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells.
Ocrevus is designed to reduce immune system attacks on the sheath. In clinical trials, it significantly reduced MS activity and slowed the progression of the disability associated with the disease.
“This new biologic treatment provides hope for individuals that have not had any available FDA-approved therapies,” Dr. Ashley Beall, medical director of Arise Infusion, said in a press release. “We are committed to helping those who can benefit with access to this medication,”
Ocrevus is available only at licensed infusion centers like Arise’s. The first dose consists of two 300-mg infusions in two weeks. Subsequent administrations are single 600-mg doses every six months.
Spherix’s report, published in the second-quarter edition of RealTime Dynamix: Multiple Sclerosis, predicted that within six months, 80 percent of neurologists are expected to be prescribing it.