What is ofatumumab?
Ofatumumab is a B-cell depleting monoclonal antibody therapy that targets CD20+ B-cells. Multiple sclerosis is known to be affected by T-cell activity, but is increasingly understood to be connected to B-cell activity in the immune system. B-cells are lymphocytes produced in the bone marrow.
B-cell depleting therapies and MS
Each of the investigational therapies that target CD20+ B-cells are cytotoxic, meaning that they bind to CD20 receptors on the cell surface and cause the cell to self-destruct. The rapid depletion of these specific B-cells is proving to be an effective treatment for MS.
Ofatumumab (Arzerra), a fully human MAB, has been studied in a small Phase IIa clinical trial involving 38 patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Results from the trial showed that intravenous ofatumumab (at each of three different doses being tested, given by infusions separated by two weeks) reduced total number of new brain lesions by up to 90% in 4-12 weeks. Compared to placebo, ofatumumab did not increase serious adverse events; however two patients in the 300-mg dosage group dropped out of the study because of adverse events. In light of these positive results, ofatumumab should be ready to move into Phase 3 trials.
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Novartis to Pay GSK $1B+ for Ofatumumab to Treat MS