BioMS Medical announced last week that it has signed a $500 million deal with Eli Lilly to codevelop, market, and manufacture its multiple sclerosis drug, currently in late Phase III trials.
If approved by FDA, BioMS's lead medical compound, MBP8298, will be one of the few treatments on the market for secondary progressive MS, a debilitating, late-stage form of the disease.
MBP8298 was discovered by scientists at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The drug reeducates the immune system not to attack the nerves in the brain and the spinal column, as happens in MS patients, allowing the immune system to stay intact and do what it is meant to do.
"MBP8298 has shown potential in slowing the progression of secondary progressive MS, and thus may provide an effective therapeutic option for patients with this debilitating disease," said William W. Chin, vice president of discovery research and clinical investigation for Lilly. "We are also hopeful that MBP8298 may prove beneficial in treating patients with relapsing remitting MS."
The chairman of the BioMS board, Clifford Giese, learned of the drug because his wife, Robin, was in treatment for MS at the University of Alberta. She was one of the early Phase I patients to receive the drug, and the family saw firsthand the positive impact the drug had on her MS.
"She has been on the drug for 11 years now, and she has continued to have her disease stabilized," said Kevin Giese, president and CEO of BioMS. "A lot of the symptoms that late-stage MS has, in terms of fatigue, intolerance of heat, and a lack of energy--she suffered all those symptoms, and they all went away within weeks of getting on the drug."
MBP8298 is administered to patients twice a year through an intravenous injection that takes two to three minutes in a doctor's office.
The drug appears to be effective in slowing the progression of the disease in the target responder group. Phase II trials showed a delay of five years, and the drug has been safe and tolerant in trials, according to Kevin Giese.
BioMS expects to take it to FDA by 2010.