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Pipeline Drug: Ocrelizumab

August 6, 2015

Rebif (Interferon beta-1a), which has been a long standing drug for MS treatment, might be getting some tough competition. A new therapy, Ocrelizumab, is a monoclonal antibody that targets B cells found in the immune system, and in multiple sclerosis patients it is proving to be much more effective than other current therapies, including Rebif.

Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, has conducted clinical trials which shows Ocrelizumab to be a promising drug for those with relapsing multiple sclerosis. The studies found that Ocrelizumab significantly reduces the number of relapses in study patients in comparison to those currently on the standard of therapy.

Though other forms of MS therapies address T cells, B cells are highly suspected in playing a role in the disorder. This is the case in MS because the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin covering of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. When treated with Ocrelizumab, the monoclonal antibodies act like a switch, turning off the destructive disease process.

Roche’s chief medical officer, Dr. Sandra Horning, stated that the drug showed remarkable improvements over clinical and imaging endpoints in two studies. Horning also said that the drug has the potential to make a huge difference for those suffering from MS.

The drug is amazing news to look forward to for MS patients, since it would only require two infusions per year. This is of great benefit to those living with the illness since some therapies require daily injections or sometimes patients must to remember to take pills multiple times throughout the day.


FDA-approval of the drug is highly anticipated as it has the potential to aid many suffering from the disease as well as the potential to become one of the first drugs approved to treat progressive forms of MS.

Pipeline Drug: Ocrelizumab - Thu August 06, 2015 9:45 AM