Swiss pharmaceutical conglomerate, Novartis International AG, has recently announced the acceptance of its secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) treatment drug, Siponimod, by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) can significantly impact lives, due to physical and cognitive impairments. According to an official press release, Novartis claims that the company is looking forward to bringing the first of its kind treatment to the MS community as quickly as possible. Apparently, Siponimod has been proven to be the first drug that can effectively delay the disability progression which usually accompanies SPMS.
Reportedly, more than 80% of people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), the most common form of the condition at diagnosis, go on to develop SPMS, a form of MS that leads to irreversible disability, such as the need for enhanced wheelchairs and walking aids, cognitive decline and bladder dysfunction, largely independent of relapses. Following the initial RRMS course, a gradual increase in the number of patients transitioning to SPMS is speculated, with around 25% progressing by 10 years post-onset, 50% by 20 years and more than 75% by 30 years.
Delighted with the SPMS drug’s potential, Bruce Bebo, Executive VP Research, National MS Society, U.S., said that the siponimod is a significant milestone towards their unrelenting search for SPMS treatments, that can benefit adults living with secondary progressive MS.
Paul Hudson, CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals was quoted saying that siponimod is the first pilot drug to show a substantial delay in disability progression in typical SPMS patients. With siponimod, the firm will stand strong with its commitment to the MS community by reinventing care for people whose lives have considerably been disrupted by this devastating illness.
Novartis is closely working with the FDA and EMA to ensure siponimod is available for patients as soon as possible, said Hudson.
As per sources, Swissmedic, Switzerland’s surveillance authority for medicines and medical devices has already granted fast track authorization procedure for siponimod in SPMS.