Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) today announced the publication of Phase IIb data showing that a 240 mg three-times-daily dose of the company's novel oral compound, BG-12 (BG00012, dimethyl fumarate), reduced the number of new gadolinium enhancing (Gd+) lesions by 69 percent in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) when compared to treatment with placebo (p
<0.0001). The data also showed a 53 percent reduction in the mean number of T1-hypointense lesions and a 44 percent reduction in cumulative new Gd+ lesions in patients treated with BG-12 compared to treatment with placebo. The presence of Gd+ lesions is thought to indicate continuing inflammatory activity within the central nervous system. T1-hypointense lesions are associated with significant breakdown and loss of brain tissue. An ad hoc analysis conducted during the study showed a decrease in the likelihood of Gd+ lesions evolving into T1-hypointense lesions (black holes), warranting further clinical study into the potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of BG-12. These results have been published in the October 25th issue of The Lancet.
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