November 17, 2009 / 7:05 AM / 10 years ago

Galapagos starts new clincial study of MS treatment

AMSTERDAM, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Belgian biotech company Galapagos GLPG.BR(GLPG.AS) said on Tuesday it would start a Phase II clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of its product Nanocort in treating flares in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Galapagos, which specialises in bone and joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosism, said Nanocort combined less frequent treatment with lower dosage and potentially more effective delivery than other flare treatments.

The trial follows a Phase I/II study concluded in 2008, which demonstrated safety as well as faster and more pronounced decrease in rheumatoid arthritis flare symptoms, Galapagos said.

“After the positive outcome of the Phase I/II study last year, we have evaluated Nanocort’s product profile and decided to pursue MS as a first indication,” chief executive Onno van de Stolpe said.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the nervous system. The World Health Organisation estimates that over 2.5 million people suffer from multiple sclerosis worldwide.

The Phase II trial will involve 90 MS patients experiencing flares, episodes of increased neurological dysfunction. The study will take place in Belgium and Germany over a period of one to two years. (Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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