Over the years, ALS has resisted all efforts to develop a treatment. With Biogen Idec’s recent announcement that the drug Dexpramipexole was also unable to impact the disease, it is easy to see why those who design and oversee ALS clinical trials are frustrated. “All of the drugs that have failed recently in Phase III looked promising at Phase II. Dex slowed down the disease in over 30 percent of the patients in the Phase IIb trial,” said Steve Perrin, PhD, CEO of ALS TDI. “The lesson here is that we need to change the design in Phase II, especially if companies plan to test the drug in different doses.” Despite this setback, Biogen Idec CEO George Scangos told investors that the failure of Dexpramipexole “has not dampened our determination to do something about this disease. We continue to work on the biology to come forward with rationally designed compounds.” He also highlighted the company’s newly announced $10 million investment in a research collaboration searching for new ALS disease targets.
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