News from the FDA/CDC

FDA approves ozanimod for relapsing and secondary progressive forms of MS


The Food and Drug Administration has approved the oral medication ozanimod (Zeposia) for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, according to a release from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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Ozanimod is a sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator that binds with high affinity to S1P receptors 1 and 5. It blocks the capacity of lymphocytes to egress from lymph nodes, reducing the number of lymphocytes in peripheral blood. Although its therapeutic mechanism of action in MS is unknown, it may involve the reduction of lymphocyte migration into the central nervous system. A genetic test is not required to start the drug, and no patient observation is required for the first dose, although up-titration of initial doses are required to reach the maintenance dose because a transient decrease in heart rate and atrioventricular conduction delays may occur, according to the company.

The approval is based on a pair of head-to-head studies that compared it with interferon beta-1a (Avonex) and together included more than 2,600 patients. It delivered better efficacy in terms of relative reduction in annualized relapse rate (48% at 1 year and 38% at 2 years). It also demonstrated better relative reduction of the number of T1-weighted gadolinium-enhanced brain lesions (63% fewer at 1 year and 53% fewer at 2 years) and number of new or enlarging T2 lesions (48% fewer at 1 year and 42% at 2 years).

Ozanimod is contraindicated in patients who, in the past 6 months, experienced a myocardial infarction, unstable angina, stroke, or other conditions. It is associated with other health risks, including infections, liver injury, additive immunosuppressive effects from prior immune-modulating therapies, and increased blood pressure. Certain assessments, such as recent complete blood count, ECG, liver function test, and current and prior medications and vaccinations, are required before initiation of treatment.

In its announcement, Bristol-Myers Squibb said that it has decided to delay the commercial launch of ozanimod during the COVID-19 pandemic until a later date.

The drug is also in development for additional immune-inflammatory indications, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The full prescribing information can be found on the company’s website.

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