For 15 years, Susan Cohn-Child has injected herself with a multiple sclerosis drug at least once a week to keep the disease in check. But Cohn-Child and thousands of other MS patients may soon be able to replace their needles with a pill being developed by Biogen Idec Inc.
Following promising clinical trial results that sent Biogen Idec shares soaring last spring, the Weston biotechnology company yesterday filed a new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration seeking approval to sell the oral treatment, now known as BG-12. Most existing treatments for the autoimmune disorder, which affects about 400,000 people in the United States, require regular injections or intravenous infusions. One other oral treatment exists, but there is hope that the new Biogen Idec drug will prove a more effective option.