Biogen to assess Spinraza benefits after treatment with Novartis' Zolgensma


Adds details on the study, background

July 21 (Reuters) - Biogen Inc BIIB.O said on Tuesday it plans to start a global clinical study to assess the safety and benefits of its spinal muscular atrophy drug, Spinraza, in children who were previously treated with Novartis AG's NOVN.S rival therapy, Zolgensma.

The post-marketing study is testing if Spinraza can improve clinical outcomes in some patients who do not respond sufficiently to the gene therapy Zolgensma, Biogen said.

Spinraza was the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, a leading genetic cause of death in infants, andhad been the dominant player in the market until Zolgensma's entry last year. Priced at $2.125 million for a one-time treatment, Zolgensma is the world's costliest drug.

"Available data now shows that some patients in the long-term study of Zolgensma have moved on to treatment with Spinraza," Biogen's Chief Medical Officer, Maha Radhakrishnan, said in a statement. (

"We believe that, for certain patients, motor neurons may be insufficiently treated by this (Zolgensma) gene therapy."

Biogen aims to enroll eligible patients in the study in the first quarter of 2021, with 60 children of up to 3 years of age expected to be enrolled.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Devika Syamnath)

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