ROCKLAND, Mass, October 13, 2021 – EMD Serono, the Healthcare business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada, today announced new interim real-world data on MAVENCLAD® (cladribine) tablets that show patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) experienced a significant improvement in quality-of-life (QoL) scores after the first course of treatment in Year 1 with MAVENCLAD. Additionally, late-breaking real-world MAVENCLAD data evaluating long-term mobility and disability status suggested sustained benefit beyond the last treatment course and a reduced need for a wheelchair or ambulatory device among MAVENCLAD-treated patients. These data were presented at the 37th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS).
A new interim analysis from the open-label Phase IV CLARIFY-MS study demonstrated improvements in QoL measures in 426 patients with RMS early in the treatment course (Year 1). After completing half the recommended cumulative dose of MAVENCLAD over two years, improvements from baseline were observed for physical and mental health composite scores (nominal p<0.0001) as measured by the Quality of Life-54 questionnaire. Safety data were consistent with the safety profile seen in the MAVENCLAD clinical development program.
“Those living with MS know the effect of a treatment goes beyond what is shown in MRIs or in bloodwork. Many patients express that the impact on physical and mental well-being is just as important,” said Prof. Jeannette Lechner-Scott, PhD, FRACP, Senior Staff Specialist in the Department of Neurology and Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle, Australia. “The quality-of-life outcomes from the CLARIFY-MS study support that MAVENCLAD positively impacts these measures early in the treatment course.”
Also presented were late-breaking final data from the Phase IV CLASSIC-MS, a follow-up study, which showed that 90.0% of patients with RMS treated with cladribine tablets did not need to use a wheelchair or were not confined to bed (i.e., with an Expanded Disability Status Scale <7) after a median follow-up of 10.9 years (range 9.3-14.9). Additionally, 81.2% of cladribine tablets-treated patients did not require an ambulatory device. CLASSIC-MS investigated the long-term efficacy in 435 patients with RMS – 90.6% of whom were exposed to cladribine tablets during the CLARITY and CLARITY Extension trials. The study focused on long-term mobility and disability – two areas of importance as MS can cause problems with movement, balance and coordination that can worsen over time.
An independent study, presented by Prof. Adi Vaknin-Dembinsky, MD, PhD, Senior Neurologist, Hadassah Medical Center at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, evaluated antibody response after a complete course of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in healthy controls and patients with MS (untreated, or treated with MAVENCLAD or interferon beta-1a). Consistent with previously reported data, MAVENCLAD-treated patients, as well as those treated with interferon beta-1a, who received the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine were found to mount a positive serology response (AU/mL >19), similar to that of healthy controls. Specifically, all patients with MS treated with MAVENCLAD (n=30) had a positive serology response against the spike protein two to three weeks after vaccination (mean=226.3±121.4). In the study, the shortest interval between vaccination and the last dose of MAVENCLAD was 12 weeks. In the U.S., the MAVENCLAD label states that all immunizations should be administered according to immunization guidelines prior to starting MAVENCLAD.
“The long-term MAVENCLAD outcomes presented at ECTRIMS 2021 suggest the potential to positively impact future mobility and disability status, supporting why MAVENCLAD should be considered a disease-modifying therapy of choice for appropriate adult patients living with RMS,” stated Danny Bar-Zohar, MD, Global Head of Development for the Healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “As new strains of COVID-19 push the pandemic onward and guidance recommends booster vaccinations, we are encouraged to have new data that continues to show MAVENCLAD-treated patients with RMS who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine have a similar antibody response to the general population.”
MAVENCLAD, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 29, 2019, is the first and only short-course oral therapy for the treatment of adults with relapsing-remitting disease (RRMS) and active secondary progressive disease (SPMS). Because of its safety profile, use of MAVENCLAD is generally recommended for patients who have had an inadequate response to, or are unable to tolerate, an alternate drug indicated for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), and MAVENCLAD is not recommended for use in patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). Patients should follow healthcare provider instructions including cancer screening, contraception and blood tests. The approved dose of MAVENCLAD is 3.5 mg per kg body weight over two years, administered as one treatment course of 1.75 mg per kg per year, each consisting of two treatment weeks. The mechanism by which cladribine exerts its therapeutic effects in patients with multiple sclerosis has not been fully elucidated but is thought to involve cytotoxic effects on B and T lymphocytes through impairment of DNA synthesis, resulting in depletion of lymphocytes. MAVENCLAD causes a dose-dependent reduction in lymphocyte counts followed by recovery.
Because cladribine is cytotoxic, special handling and disposal instructions should be followed.
MAVENCLAD has been approved in over 80 countries, including the European Union (EU), Canada, Australia and Switzerland, for various relapsing MS indications. Visit www.MAVENCLAD.com for more information.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: MALIGNANCIES and RISK OF TERATOGENICITY
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Adverse Reactions: The most common adverse reactions with an incidence of >20% for MAVENCLAD are upper respiratory tract infection, headache, and lymphopenia.
Drug Interactions/Concomitant Medication: Concomitant use of MAVENCLAD with immunosuppressive or myelosuppressive drugs and some immunomodulatory drugs (e.g., interferon beta) is not recommended and may increase the risk of adverse reactions. Acute short-term therapy with corticosteroids can be administered.
Avoid concomitant use of certain antiviral and antiretroviral drugs. Avoid concomitant use of BCRP or ENT/CNT inhibitors as they may alter bioavailability of MAVENCLAD.
Use in Specific Populations: Studies have not been performed in pediatric or elderly patients, pregnant or breastfeeding women. Use in patients with moderate to severe renal or hepatic impairment is not recommended.
Please see the full Prescribing Information, including boxed WARNING for additional information.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately 2.8 million people have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.
EMD Serono, Inc. and Multiple Sclerosis
For more than 20 years, EMD Serono has been relentlessly focused on understanding the journey people living with MS face in order to create a meaningful, positive experience for them and the broader MS community. However, there is still much that is unknown about this complex and unpredictable disease. EMD Serono is digging deeper to advance the science.
About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono — the Healthcare business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada — is engaged in the discovery, research and development of medicines for patients with difficult to treat diseases. The business is committed to transforming lives by developing and delivering meaningful solutions that help address the therapeutic and support needs of individual patients. Building on a proven legacy and deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, EMD Serono is developing potential new oncology and immuno-oncology medicines while continuing to explore potential therapeutic options for diseases such as psoriasis, lupus and MS. Today, the business has approximately 1,500 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts. www.emdserono.com.
About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 58,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2020, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 17.5 billion in 66 countries.
The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.