Evobrutinib also called M2951 is an investigational oral medication to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), which includes relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and active secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Merck KGaA (known as EMD Serono in the U.S. and Canada) is developing the treatment.

How does evobrutinib work?

MS is a neurodegenerative autoimmune condition in which the immune system produces autoantibodies that mistakenly attack the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects nerve cells. The myelin sheath insulates nerve cells and facilitates their proper functioning. The breakdown of the myelin sheath, also known as demyelination, results in brain lesions and leads to the symptoms of MS.

Immune cells such as T- and B-cells play an important role in driving inflammation and the progression of MS.

Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is a protein present on several immune cells, such as B-cells, macrophages, and monocytes, that are important for inflammation. BTK plays a vital role in B-cell activation, development, multiplication, and function. B-cells can activate T-cells and further enhance the inflammatory process that damages the myelin sheath.

Evobrutinib is a BTK inhibitor. It blocks the BTK protein and prevents the activation and function of B-cells and subsequently curbs T-cell function and inflammation. Thus, by blocking BTK protein, researchers hope that evobrutinib can reduce the nerve cell damage seen in MS patients, and prevent relapses.

Evobrutinib in clinical trials

A placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial (NCT02975349) compared the efficacy and safety of evobrutinib to that of Tecfidera, an MS treatment that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved as a treatment to reduce the activation of the immune system. Researchers randomly assigned 267 patients to receive Tecfidera, a placebo, or three different doses of evobrutinib (25 mg once daily, 75 mg once daily, or 75 mg twice daily). Researchers reported no relapses in 79% of patients who received the highest treatment dose. The study also reported reduced brain lesions in MS patients after 24 weeks of treatment. This was maintained through 48 weeks of treatment.

Two ongoing Phase 3 studies — EVOLUTION RMS1 (NCT04032158 ) and EVOLUTION RMS2 (NCT04032171) — are comparing evobrutinib with Avonex, by Biogen. Avonex is a formulation of interferon beta-1a approved to treat MS. Each study plans to enroll a total of 950 RRMS patients. Researchers will randomize the participants to receive evobrutinib or Avonex. The primary objective of the studies is to measure the annual relapse rate. The secondary goals include measuring disability progression and the formation of new brain lesions. Researchers expect to complete EVOLUTION RMS2 by June 2023, and EVOLUTION RMS1 by October 2026.

Other information

Researchers also studying evobrutinib as a potential treatment for other autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Last updated: May 28, 2020

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Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Vijaya Iyer is a freelance science writer for BioNews Services. She has contributed content to their several disease-specific websites, including cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, among others. She holds a PhD in Microbiology from Kansas State University, where her research focused on molecular biology, bacterial interactions, metabolism, and animal models to study bacterial infections. Following the completion of her PhD, Dr. Iyer went on to complete three postdoctoral fellowships at Kansas State University, University of Miami and Temple University. She joined BioNews Services to utilize her scientific background and writing skills to help patients and caregivers remain abreast with important scientific breakthroughs.
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Vijaya Iyer is a freelance science writer for BioNews Services. She has contributed content to their several disease-specific websites, including cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, among others. She holds a PhD in Microbiology from Kansas State University, where her research focused on molecular biology, bacterial interactions, metabolism, and animal models to study bacterial infections. Following the completion of her PhD, Dr. Iyer went on to complete three postdoctoral fellowships at Kansas State University, University of Miami and Temple University. She joined BioNews Services to utilize her scientific background and writing skills to help patients and caregivers remain abreast with important scientific breakthroughs.
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