Two years after the approval of Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), the latest data continue to support the benefits of the so-called “game-changing” therapy in multiple sclerosis (MS), while new insights highlight its neuronal protective effects and safety.
Multiple Sclerosis News Today had the opportunity to speak with Hideki Garren, MD, PhD, Genentech’s global head of MS and neuroimmunology, to get his take on the latest information on Ocrevus, at the 35th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), held Sept. 11–13 in Stockholm.
Ocrevus, a humanized antibody that selectively targets and reduces the numbers of CD20-positive B-cells, is the only treatment approved for both relapsing MS, and primary progressive MS (PPMS). The therapy is marketed by Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche.
Effects on disability progression
Data presented at this year’s ECTRIMS conference compile the results of the main trial — the Phase 3 ORATORIO trial (NCT01194570) in PPMS patients — and an open-label extension study, and indicate that earlier and continuous treatment with Ocrevus leads to greater and more prolonged slowing of disability progression — seen for up to 6.5 years — in people with PPMS.
Data in relapsing MS patients showed a similar result — six years of Ocrevus treatment also reduced the risk of disability progression and, as was seen in PPMS patients, this effect was sustained over time.
“What’s new here is that we’re showing that earlier treatment and continuous treatment leads to better long-term outcomes, so in both the relapsing MS study and the PPMS study,” Garren said.
“What’s really exciting is that in the PPMS study, what we show is that we have a delay to wheelchair,” he added.
Data show that at the end of 6.5 years of treatment, PPMS patients who started earlier on Ocrevus have a 42% lower risk of becoming wheelchair-bound (EDSS disability score of 7 or higher), results Garren considers “really, really exciting and obviously really important for patients.”
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