All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for May 2004

Schering, Serono shares slide on MS statin study

May 14, 2004

Shares in Germany's Schering AG and Switzerland's Serono SA fell nearly one percent on Friday on concerns cholesterol-lowering pills could challenge their interferon drugs in treating multiple sclerosis.

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina produced the first clinical evidence that statins -- widely used to reduce the risk of heart attack -- can help in multiple sclerosis in an article in The Lancet medical journal.

A group of 30 patients with MS given 80 mg a day of Merck & Co Inc's (nyse: MRK - news - people) Zocor, or simvastatin, had a 44 percent reduction in brain lesions after three months of treatment, their study showed.

"Further studies are clearly needed but this data indicates that, in the longer-term, the MS therapy market could become more crowded than had been previously thought," said one pharmaceutical industry analyst.

Serono, Schering and Biogen Idec (nasdaq: BIIB - news - people) of the United States all sell expensive beta interferon injections for MS, while Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd <TEVA.TA> markets a competing product called Copaxone.

Serono shares were off 0.9 percent at 773 Swiss francs by 0840 GMT while Schering shed 0.8 percent to 43.81 euros.

Copyright © 2004, Reuters News Service