September 18, 2003
Reuters Health Information
German drug maker Schering said on Thursday the first part of a phase III trial for a high-dose version of multiple sclerosis drug Betaferon showed the drug was safe and well-tolerated.
The firm said in a statement the trial, part of one of the largest MS studies ever, revealed no new side effects.
"This is good news to the extent that Schering could establish safety," said Merrill Lynch analyst Andreas Schmidt.
"It's not proven yet that a double dose is better than a single dose. But as they have shown that even a double dose is safe, it enables them to market their single dose better," he said.
The trials involved patients with relapsing cases of multiple sclerosis.
Schering said it would now carry out efficacy trials on double doses of the drug compared with single doses and with glatiramer acetate, the ingredient in Teva's Copaxone.
Betaferon, sold as Betaseron in the United States, is one of Schering's best-known drugs and generated sales of 783 million euros ($884 million) last year.
Copyright © 2003, Reuters Ltd