20th February 2020
AB Science announced positive results from a later-stage clinical trial of oral masitinib involving people with primary progressive MS and ‘non-active’ secondary progressive MS. The announced results, based on a subgroup of 301 trial participants over 3 years, suggested that masitinib was beneficial in slowing disease progression compared to inactive placebo, as measured by the standard EDSS scale that largely tests walking ability.
“We are very encouraged by these findings utilizing a novel treatment approach that could help address the immense unmet need of people with progressive MS in slowing and ultimately stopping their disease activity. This work supports growing momentum in identifying the underlying causes of progression and developing life-changing treatments for over 1 million people with progressive MS,” said Professor Alan Thompson, Chair of the International Progressive MS Alliance Scientific Steering Committee
Masitinib is a “tyrosine kinase inhibitor” that targets biochemical activities in immune cells that are largely involved in the innate immune system, which is thought to be a driving force within the brain and spinal cord in progressive phases of MS. Results from earlier studies suggest masitinib is relatively well tolerated. The most common possible side effects were weakness (asthenia), rash, nausea, fluid retention, and diarrhea.
In addition to being tested in progressive MS, masitinib is being tested for a variety of cancers, asthma, and neurodegenerative disorders. No form of this class of drug has been approved for any form of multiple sclerosis.
The company states that it will use these recent results to gain advice from drug regulatory agencies to map out what further phase 3 trial or trials will be needed to submit applications for marketing approval for the treatment of progressive MS.