The FDA has approved a new multiple sclerosis drug made by Biogen Idec Inc. that's viewed as the best in a new wave of treatments for the disease.
The drug, Tecfidera, is taken orally and works by reducing the inflammation caused by the MS immune response and protecting nerves against injury. Analysts predict Tecfidera will be the heavyweight champ in the multi-billion dollar market for MS treatment.
"This is on the order of a Lipitor or something," Oppenheimer analyst Dave Ferreiro told the Boston Business Journal. "It's hard to imagine a drug getting much bigger than that."
“No drug provides a cure for multiple sclerosis so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available for patients," said Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Multiple sclerosis can impair movement, sensation, and thinking and have a profound impact on a person's quality of life."
The price of the new drug will be an issue. According to the annual Drug Trend report, published by Express Scripts, MS therapies were the second most expensive treatment type (in terms of what each member paid per year).