April 18, 2002
by Leon Henderson, M.D.
Bennett Weintraub, Ph.D.
Already reeling from the approval of Serono's Rebif in the U.S. in early March, Biogen was dealt a further blow this week when data presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) demonstrated the benefit of Rebif over Avonex. The study, demonstrating the benefit of Rebif at 48 weeks, confirmed and extended similar 24-week data. These data should benefit Rebif, which Serono plans to aggressively market for multiple sclerosis in the U.S. Biogen countered by initiating a trial designed to test the longer-term (three to five years) benefits of Avonex compared to Rebif. Serono's trial will also generate longer-term data.
Also at the AAN, multiple sclerosis studies support early use of Teva's Copaxone, use of a mitoxantrone plus methylprednisolone combination, and promising stem cell treatments.
In the treatment of dementia, a study supported the use of Pfizer's Aricept for vascular dementia and a retrospective study provided more evidence that statins may eventually be used in the treatment of Alzheimer patients.
A study published this week was positive for use of Merck's Fosamax
for osteoporosis. The study is especially notable as Eli Lilly's Forteo,
pending FDA review, may soon be available to compete with Fosamax and other
© Copyright 2002, Btech Investor, Inc.