Monthly under-the-skin injections of Novartis’ investigational candidate ofatumumab show promise as a convenient, effective, and safe therapeutic option for people with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).
Data from the ASCLEPIOS and APLIOS clinical trials showed that ofatumumab — currently under regulatory review for possible approval in the U.S. and Europe — was superior to the approved MS therapy Aubagio (teriflunomide) by Sanofi Genzyme in people with relapsing forms of MS, and that it can be administered at home through a patient-friendly autoinjector pen.
For Amit Bar-Or, MD, of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, an investigator in the APLIOS study, ofatumumab is a “very attractive prospect in terms of the ability for patients to self-administer, with monthly subcutaneous [under-the-skin] injections, a therapy that is otherwise very well tolerated and very effective against relapsing MS disease activity.”
In an interview with Multiple Sclerosis News Today, Bar-Or, who expressed confidence that ofatumumab will be approved soon, discussed the therapy’s latest clinical data and its promising therapeutic profile.
Ofatumumab, co-developed by Genmab and Novartis, is a fully human antibody that specifically targets a protein receptor called CD20 on the surface of B-cells. B-cells are a type of immune cell involved in the abnormal immune reactions against myelin (the protective sheath around nerve cell fibers) that drive MS development.
By blocking CD20’s activity, ofatumumab is expected to promote B-cell death, potentially lowering interactions with other immune cells — key for the initiation of a series of immune reactions against myelin and MS relapses.
Other anti-CD20 B-cell therapies — including approved MS therapy Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) from Roche and rituximab (used off-label in MS) — were shown to be effective in lowering relapse rates in people with relapsing MS. These therapies typically involve intravenous (into the vein) infusions at a hospital or clinic, once every six months.
According to Bar-Or, ofatumumab has the potential to be a more convenient option for patients, as it can be self-administered at home.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?