Actelion‘s ponesimod, an investigational oral treatment, is superior to Sanofi‘s Aubagio (teriflunomide) in lessening the frequency of relapses and easing fatigue symptoms in adults with active, relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), results of the OPTIMUM trial show.
The findings were presented by Ludwig Kappos, MD, chair of the department of neurology at the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland, at the 35th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), held Sept. 11-13 in Stockholm.
Kappos’ oral presentation was titled: “Efficacy and safety of ponesimod compared to teriflunomide in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis: results of the randomized, active-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group phase 3 OPTIMUM study.”
Ponesimod (formerly called ACT-128800) is an experimental treatment under development by Actelion (owned by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) for the treatment of MS.
Ponesimod is an oral modulator of the sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1), promoting the trapping of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cells, including immune T cells and B cells) inside lymph nodes, therefore lowering the numbers of “immune cells available for inflammatory attacks in the [brain and spinal cord],” Kappos said.
Key features of ponesimod include the fact it is rapidly eliminated from the body (within one week after stopping treatment), it does not form active metabolites (subproducts), has a low potential for drug interactions, and its “effects on the immune system are quickly reversible,” Kappos said.
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