Merck KGaA's investigational MS drug may improve patients' condition

TORONTO An investigational drug made by Merck KGaA may provide a new treatment option for patients with multiple sclerosis, according to late-stage clinical trial results presented Friday at a scientific meeting.

Merck KGaA said data from the 1,326-patient “CLARITY” phase 3 trial presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology showed that more than 40% of patients taking cladribine tablets achieved disease activity-free status during the 96 weeks of the study, compared with 16% of those taking placebo. In addition, more patients experienced reductions in disease relapse.

“The relevance of the CLARITY study is further substantiated by the series of additional analyses presented at AAN,” said Bernhard Kirschbaum, head of global research and development for the company’s Merck Serono division. “We are committed to continuing to work with regulatory authorities to bring cladribine tablets at the earliest point in time.”

Merck KGaA, based in Darmstadt, Germany, is a separate company from Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck.

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