CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and DUBLIN, Ireland, Oct. 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) and Alkermes plc (Nasdaq: ALKS) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Vumerity (diroximel fumarate), a novel oral fumarate with a distinct chemical structure, for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease and active secondary progressive disease. Biogen holds the exclusive, worldwide license to commercialize Vumerity and intends to make it available in the United States in the near future.
“The FDA’s approval of Vumerity delivers on Biogen’s commitment to pursue new therapies that may provide meaningful impact for people living with relapsing MS, and we look forward to bringing it to the MS community as an additional treatment option,” said Alfred Sandrock, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president, research and development, and chief medical officer at Biogen. “Vumerity is a novel fumarate that offers the well-characterized efficacy of Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate) and has been studied for improved patient-reported gastrointestinal tolerability.”
“The approval of Vumerity for relapsing MS marks the culmination of a multi-year development program and is the latest milestone in our mission to develop new treatments for patients living with chronic central nervous system disorders,” said Craig Hopkinson, M.D., chief medical officer and senior vice president of medicines development and medical affairs at Alkermes. “We are grateful to the patients and study investigators who have participated in our Vumerity clinical trials and we look forward to working with our collaboration partners at Biogen to make this new treatment available to patients.”
The FDA approval of Vumerity was based on a New Drug Application (NDA) submitted under the 505(b)(2) filing pathway. It included data from pharmacokinetic bridging studies comparing Vumerity and Tecfidera to establish bioequivalence, and relied, in part, on the FDA’s findings of safety and efficacy for Tecfidera.
The NDA submission also included interim exposure and safety findings from EVOLVE-MS-1, an ongoing, Phase 3, single-arm, open-label, two-year safety study evaluating Vumerity in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Interim results from EVOLVE-MS-1 at the time of NDA submission included a low overall rate of Vumerity treatment discontinuation due to adverse events (6.3 percent), and a rate of less than one percent of patients who discontinued Vumerity treatment due to gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events. Additional exploratory efficacy endpoints in the ongoing EVOLVE-MS-1 study showed changes in clinical and radiological measures compared to baseline.
“MS is a heterogeneous disease, and real-world patient circumstances can vary, reinforcing the benefits of having therapeutic choices to support the diverse range of treatment considerations,” said Robert Naismith, M.D., professor of neurology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Throughout its clinical development program, Vumerity has demonstrated a desirable therapeutic profile, making it a compelling new option for patients.”
“MS is a lifelong disease that has a significant impact on the people affected and their caregivers. We are encouraged by the progress being made in the treatment of MS, and pleased that another treatment option will soon be available,” said Bruce Bebo, Ph.D., executive vice president, research, National MS Society. “It’s important for people with MS to have treatments that are both efficacious and tolerable to help manage their disease.”
Under the terms of the license and collaboration agreement between Biogen and Alkermes, Biogen will pay Alkermes $150 million in connection with the FDA’s approval of Vumerity. Biogen plans to account for this milestone payment as an asset that will be amortized over the expected useful life of the product. Alkermes is also entitled to receive a mid-teens percentage royalty on worldwide net commercial sales of Vumerity, subject, under certain circumstances, to minimum annual payments for the first five years following FDA approval and customary reductions as set forth in the agreement.