Roche unveils long-term data from MS blockbuster Ocrevus

People with relapsing multiple sclerosis treated sooner with Roche’s Ocrevus saw a faster reduction in disease activity and less disability compared with those who switched from an older drug, according to study data.

The data announced at this week’s European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) conference in Berlin further makes the case for Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) use instead of older drugs.

Latest data came from three open-label extension studies and show that people treated earlier with Ocrevus had an earlier reduction in disease activity and less disability in relapsing multiple sclerosis patients compared with those who switched from interferon beta-1a, the active ingredient in Merck KGaA’s Rebif, and Biogen’s Avonex.

The data also showed people with primary progressive MS (PPMS) treated with Ocrevus earlier had less disability and upper limb progression than those who switched from placebo.

Findings were based on five-year data from the phase II open-label extension studies of OPERA I, OPERA II in relapsing disease and ORATORIO primary progressive MS.

Roche is also presenting data from the open-label phase IIIb CHORDS study testing Ocrevus in people who had not responded properly to rival disease-modifying therapies.

Ocrevus is already a blockbuster after a year on the market, and the data from ECTRIMS will add to the evidence that the drug is setting a new standard in relapsing MS.

It is also the first disease-modifying drug approved in primary progressive MS, where symptoms get gradually worse over time instead of during flare-ups.

Stephen Hauser, of the Scientific Steering Committee of the OPERA studies, professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, said: “From the moment of diagnosis, reducing disease progression is an important goal for people with MS. The new data presented at ECTRIMS demonstrate that OCREVUS’ efficacy continued over five years in relapsing and primary progressive MS, and notably, include the largest body of evidence for any medicine to significantly slow disability progression in primary progressive MS.

“The data also suggest that OCREVUS rapidly suppressed relapse and MRI disease activity in people with relapsing MS who switched from interferon beta-1α, and additionally, that earlier treatment with OCREVUS reduced disability progression and brain atrophy.”


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