Apitope Upbeat After Merck Returns Multiple Sclerosis Candidate
With cladribine battling it out again with regulatory authorities for approval in multiple sclerosis, Merck decides to hand back rights to Apitope's Phase II MS drug candidate.
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With the EMA’s review of the latest MAA for cladribine ongoing, Merck KGaA is using ECTRIMS 2016 as the stage for numerous new presentations on the drug’s efficacy and safety. Data on this additional induction therapy are positive but regulators and the market could prove difficult to persuade.
Few will remember Apitope. Those that do will remember it had a good run in 2008, with a series A financing and a licensing deal with Merck Serono for its lead program in multiple sclerosis (MS), and then…near radio silence. Until now. Suddenly that distant MS candidate ATX MS 1467 is Merck Serono's second-to-last remaining hope as a successor to Rebif. And Apitope has two more interesting compounds ready for clinical testing – for hemophilia A and Graves' disease – and the money to fund them with a €12m series B financing announced this week. Scrip's Sukaina Virji caught up with CEO Dr Keith Martin.
The UK's main reimbursement bodies made a series of decisions this week that were broadly favorable and largely focused on oncology medicines.