During last week’s American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston, many drug makers presented their latest research data. Roche’s presentation was highly anticipated, as the FDA had approved its multiple sclerosis (MS) pipeline asset, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), last month. Ocrevus is expected to be one of the biggest launches of 2017, and is approved for both relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) and primary progressive MS (PPMS), a rarer form of MS that has previously lacked treatment options.

New analysis from Ocrevus’ pivotal Phase III trials for RRMS (OPERA I and OPERA II) demonstrated that Ocrevus suppressed over 90% of active lesions over two years in newly diagnosed patients with RRMS compared with EMD Serono’s Rebif (interferon beta-1a). In the same patients, Ocrevus also increased the proportion who achieved no evidence of disease activity (NEDA) by 76% compared with Rebif over two years. New analysis from the ORATORIO study for PPMS also demonstrated that patients treated with Ocrevus who did not experience disability progression had significant reduction in fatigue compared to those taking placebo.

The latest data published at AAN 2017 further reinforce Ocrevus’ efficacy. The drug is also the first investigational medicine to significantly reduce the disease progression of PPMS in a large Phase III study, and the latest analysis also demonstrated its ability to reduce fatigue in PPMS patients, a common symptom of PPMS.

Ocrevus has recently launched in the US and is expected to see a fast market uptake in RRMS patients due to its superior efficacy compared with Rebif, infrequent dosing, and lower opportunistic infection rate. As the first and only drug approved for PPMS, Ocrevus will also acquire a dominant position in the PPMS patient segment. On top of that, Ocrevus is priced attractively at $65,000 per year in the US, which is less expensive than either Tysabri or Rebif. The latest data presented at AAN 2017 reinforce the clinical benefits of Ocrevus, and will further boost its adoption rate.

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