Alkermes has announced the initiation of a new phase III study of ALKS 8700, a novel, oral monomethyl fumarate (MMF) prodrug candidate in development for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). ALKS 8700 is designed to rapidly and efficiently convert to MMF in the body and offer differentiated features as compared to the currently marketed dimethyl fumarate, TECFIDERA. The five-week, head-to-head study will evaluate the gastrointestinal (GI) tolerability of ALKS 8700 compared to TECFIDERA in approximately 420 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). This elective study is part of the ongoing clinical development program for ALKS 8700, named EVOLVE-MS (Endeavoring to Advance Treatment for Patients Living with Multiple Sclerosis). The company plans to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) for ALKS 8700 for the treatment of RRMS to the FDA in 2018.
“ALKS 8700, a MMF prodrug with distinct physical-chemical properties, is designed to provide therapeutic concentrations of MMF in the body and offer differentiated features as compared to the market leader dimethyl fumarate, TECFIDERA, which is associated with gastrointestinal side effects. These adverse events can lead to treatment interruption or discontinuation for patients with MS,” stated Elliot Ehrich, M.D., chief medical officer of Alkermes. “We believe ALKS 8700 may represent a valuable new option for patients suffering from MS who want the efficacy of fumarate therapy with more favorable gastrointestinal tolerability. We look forward to conducting this study and submitting the planned NDA for ALKS 8700 in 2018.”
“This elective study for ALKS 8700 demonstrates Alkermes’ unique approach to fully characterize the potential value of new medicines, reflecting our commitment to integrating inputs from patients, physicians and payers into our development programs in response to an increasingly complex healthcare system,” stated Richard Pops, chief executive officer of Alkermes. “The data from this study will help determine ALKS 8700’s potential advantages for patients and its future positioning in the fumarate market, which represents a $3 billion opportunity in the U.S.”
The phase III, multicenter, double-blind, active-controlled, five-week study is designed to evaluate the GI tolerability of ALKS 8700 462 mg twice daily compared to TECFIDERA 240 mg twice daily in approximately 420 patients with RRMS. Both treatment groups will include an initial one-week dose titration period. Key GI symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, upper and lower abdominal pain and diarrhea, will be assessed using two patient-reported symptom rating scales: the Individual Gastrointestinal Symptom and Impact Scale (IGISIS) and the Global Gastrointestinal Symptom and Impact Scale (GGISIS). Intensity, frequency and duration of symptoms, as well as effect on daily activities will also be assessed.