Long-acting interferon beta

Epub ahead of print
Kieseier  & Calabresi. PEGylation of Interferon-β-1a: A Promising Strategy in Multiple Sclerosis. CNS Drugs. 2011 Dec 23.

Biological therapies, such as interferon beta, can be hindered by the rapid clearance of the drug requiring frequent dosing. One strategy for addressing this problem is drug modification through PEGylation, a well established process by which one or more molecules of polyethylene glycol (PEG) are attached to a biological or small-molecule drug, effectively transforming it into a therapy with improved properties (pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic) that increase its life in the body and hence its duration of action

A pegylated protein

Numerous PEGylated therapeutics are currently available, all of which have at least comparable efficacy, safety and tolerability to their unmodified forms. 

A PEGylated form of interferon-β-1a (PEG-IFNβ-1a) is being developed for MS. 

Phase I study data suggest that PEG-IFNβ-1a should provide MS’ers with a first-line therapy with a more convenient dosing regimen (once  a month or twice a month injections) while maintaining the established efficacy, safety and tolerability of presently available IFNβ-1a. 

The ongoing global ADVANCE phase III study will determine the clinical efficacy of PEG-IFNβ-1a in MS’ers with relapsing MS.

“This is what you call life-cycle management of a drug or class of drugs for MS. Some MS’ers who respond to IFN-beta may find the option of a once monthly or twice monthly injection preferable to a weekly injection. If the drug gets through the pipeline I wonder what it will cost?”

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